Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pet Shop Boys meet ballet

"The Most Incredible Thing"

I’m not a huge dance fan, but I enjoyed my second visit to Sadlers’ Wells just as much as the first - so perhaps I’d better re-think my anti-dance stance.

"The Most Incredible Thing" is a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale with modern choreography by Javier de Frutos and music by the Pet Ship Boys. Does that sound like a recipe for disaster or what? An unkind reviewer in the Guardian did say that the result “sounds like the 1980s, looks like the 1920s, acts like the 1890s and feels as flat as the present.” he or she must have been having a bad day, because even if all that is true, the result is highly enjoyable.

Aaron Sillis and Clemmie Sveaas

Now, despite the Pet Shop Boys (Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe) having apparently sold 12 top ten studio albums and 40 top twenty singles since the 1980s, they were a closed book to me. One of those popular culture things that passed me right by while I was busy having babies and a career, I suppose. But I must confess to being very impressed with the score of ‘The Most Incredible Thing”, which was performed by a live orchestra and electronica. At times it might have been a bit cacophonous, but there was no doubt it was music to dance to, and dance gracefully, too.

And dance they did: the company and soloists were superb. I know nothing about dance, but I know what I like (as they say) - and I liked this.  The story is a bit inane, but then so is the story of The Nutcracker. It was a pleasure to see a fully-realised production with a clever set - though one nit-pick might be that there was too much reliance on video screens and signs being held up: we get it, we get it - we don’t need the sign!

The central part of the story features a magical clock which displays twelve marvelous scenes - a terrific plot line for a choreographer, and Javier de Frutos made the most of it, producing twelve fantastical vignettes. 

I just might go to see some dance again....

See a little for yourself.
Read a review.

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