Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at the Peackock Theatre
All male ballet companies are a little de rigeur these days and luckily our teenage dirtbag years with all those Iron Maiden gigs means we're not averse to men in tights. However, what we didn't expect when we headed off to catch Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo was to be laughing so much. Somehow the finer arts are never thought to be particularly humourous.
So here's the skinny: an all male troupe performs classical ballet sequences in a lovingly irreverant manner. In drag. Think, if you will, of the Reduced Shakespeare Company for people on pointy toes. Or some subtle slapstick in tutus. As with the RSC, it no doubt helps to know a little background, but it's not necessary. It's the Trock's mission to make ballet accessible and enjoyable that makes this an all ages, all backgrounds show.
To make light of an art form without being in any way disapraging takes love and understanding and the Trocks have it all in spades. What makes the show such a hoot is not that they are taking the piss, but that they are having fun with the form. So the tallest guys dance with the smallest. The male roles when required plod around like male divas, and the women bitch at each other, pushing, shoving and snarling like Bette Davis on a bad day. It's not just the perfomance you're watching but the performers, each expression as exquisetly rehearsed as the steps themselves.
And boy, can these boys dance. Watching a line of big blokes pirouette across the stage as gracefully as any female counterpart is a sight to behold: high camp, high art, some might say just high. If art is for all then all are welcome as the gangling line up huff and puff their way through a host of cliches whilst maintaining their passion for the pieces; each one executed perfectly by such luminous ladies as Margeaux Mundeyn, Ida Nevasayneva and Olga Supphozova. You must be getting the drift by now.
Unfortunately you only have five more days to catch an extremely entertaining evening out; last performance is the 8th. And whether you're able to chuckle at the ways in which the Trocks carefully accentuate the eccentricities of the dance, or whether you just chuckle, there's something for everyone. The programme also changes regularly, with only the feathery mess of their Dying Swan a given. The show rolls in at around the two hour mark, including two intermissions, so it's not even going to keep you long.