OMG DID YOU SEE THAT MOVE!
Rock The Ballet
Director: Rasta Thomas
Choreographer: Adriene Canterna-Thomas
Dance captain: Tim Olson
at St James Theatre, Wellington
From 6 Jun 2012 to 10 Jun 2012
Reviewed by Lyne Pringle, 7 Jun 2012
Tuesday - a very cold June night in Wellington – the St James Theatre pumps with rerecorded classic rock and a capacity crowd. Rock! the Ballet indeed, from the word go it is clear that the audience is expected to be vocal, to respond to the gyrations of the ‘sexy' Bad Boys and to have a fun time.
We do. Ooh ah, amazing, OMG did you see that move! This is actually just the ticket for a deep dark winter night in the Antipodes.
Initially sceptical, especially when blow up sex dolls come out to tango against red- light- flesh –for-sale video projections – huh what are the sexual politics here? – by the end of the show I confess I am enjoying myself. Don't blame it on the moonlight; Don't blame it on the good times; Blame it on the boogie. Yes Michael Jackson got me and so did Prince even though they weren't actually singing. But the compelling rhythms and lyrics make me remember being a 20 something dancing at parties and this is the tone of the evening: party party flash flash one spectacular move after another.
Hip hop, tap, contemporary and acrobatics all make an appearance in the often disjointed ‘for affect' choreography. These are ‘rip off' moves like the music but they suit and serve the purpose of the show. A couple of sequences mostly the more reflective moments work for me choreographically, in particular the Ne Me Quitte Pas dance. I would say though that it is a clever show the way it integrates elements under the ballet umbrella, remaining true to the intention of the show.
The dancers have a WOW factor and it is intriguing to see the mishmash of forms layered onto pretty marvellous classical technique. They are very good; handsome, lithe, athletic and accomplished with on stage charisma and commitment to burn. One chick dances she is named ‘Pretty Girl' huh? On the night I attended Jordan Lombardi took this role and she was fresh, chirpy, cheeky and great to watch. (I wonder can she develope or battment to touch her ear or nose with her left leg as well – just a small quibble)
After the blow up doll sequence I was apprehensive about how the 6 ‘bad boys 1 ‘pretty girl' dynamic would play out but this was handled quite nicely with some playful and tender interactions between the sexes.
James Boyd takes a lead part and his presence really grows on me, by the end I was picking up the humour and nuance in his performance as well as the excellent execution. He is great and like the other dancers exudes a palpable generosity to the audience. You get the sense these dancers find true enjoyment in their performance.
A star of the show is the projections from an accomplished team under the design of William Cusick – in particular the Bohemian Rhapsody – yes Queen too – really kicks! The choreography here is not bad either.
After 50,000 pirouettes, leaps that caress the upper reaches, leg moves that defy logic, countless channelling MJ moments and a decent amount of shirt off, sweat glistening, let me take you home time with the ‘Bad Boys' we all move out into the night which seems a little less dark and cold.
A lively entertaining world that is fun to visit.
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