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GISELLE – WA BALLET COMPANY

Giselle, WA Ballet Company, photo by Sergey Pevnev
Giselle, WA Ballet Company, photo by Sergey Pevnev

GISELLE, WA BALLET COMPANY
HIS MAJESTY’S THEATRE
14 SEPTEMBER

The WA Ballet Company’s favourite writer is back in the saddle again to give my normal-guy-point-of-view on their next and current show Giselle. Giselle is a Ballet show that dates back to the 28th of June, 1841. That’s 178 years ago and it is still one of the most popular stories in the art of Ballet going today. How did the WA Ballet Company do in this endeavour? Let’s wait and see what the ‘Rock N Roll Reviewer’ has to say. That’s me. I don’t know why I’m speaking in the third person but here we are.

As described, this show is about “peasant girl, Giselle, beautiful and innocent, falls deeply for Albrecht, a prince in disguise. When she discovers he is engaged to another, her grief and shock at his deception sends her mad. She dies of a broken heart and her spirit joins the ‘Wilis’ – ghosts of women betrayed. The revengeful Wilis lure men into the forest and cruelly force them to dance to their death. They have set their eyes on Albrecht, and Giselle must summon all within her to save him from this terrible fate.”

Pretty deep stuff. As seems to be with many shows that feature dance as its primary form of communication.

I walked into His Majestys Theatre and felt sorely under dressed. Still my usual style, but damn, there were people wearing tuxedos in there. It was opening night after all. Can I say something? If any blokes out there are wondering where all the beautiful women are in the world – they’re at the ballet, dude. The men were outnumbered here big time. Which needs to change. I am a rock n’ roll vocalist, I’m a bad boy at heart – and I have thoroughly enjoyed the Ballet this year. I implore you all to give it a shot. Not just because you are at the epicentre of beautiful ladies, but because this is an entertaining show. It’s enthralling to see these performers who work nine hours a day plying their craft do their thing for their audience. You got a girlfriend or a wife? This will score you a huge amount of brownie points if you take them to the Ballet. You will find that this performance art isn’t just for dance enthusiasts or old people. This. Is. For. Everyone.

Let me start this review off by talking about one Oscar Valdes, the leading man portraying the scoundrel that is Albrecht. This man is the human version of a cat. You barely heard a sound when his feet hit the floor! What a tremendous professional he is.

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Chihiro Nomura is the leading lady in this show as Giselle. I am not an aficionado about dance but what I do know is this lady knows how to perform. First of all, she has such grace, poise and precision, she literally floats in the air. She told the story from whoa-to-go with her facial expressions and ability to convey how the character was feeling in every single instance of the show. If she felt sorrow? You knew it. If she felt despair? You could tell the difference! When she felt joy, I felt joy. I was with her the whole way. Thank you for your performance.

Polly Hilton is one elegant woman. She portrayed Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis. Another remarkable performance. She really made me believe, her poise was incredible. She made me wish I wasn’t so uncoordinated. Give me a basketball, I’ll score 20 and get 10 rebounds. Me pouring a glass of Orange Juice in the morning? I will stumble and spill it every time, imagine me trying to hop on one leg, it’s a disaster in the making. She was made for her role she portrayed at this show and it was a standout performance. Thank you.

Jesse Homes as Hilarion – I expected to see more of him but nonetheless this is how the story is told. Again, facial expressions. I felt the pain, the hurt, the sorrow – the defiance! Another dancer that flys through the air like Michael Jordan heading to the basket. That’s two basketball references so far and I have no idea why but that’s just what is happening.

A few people in their supporting roles I really want to give a shout-out to. Adam Alzaim aka “The Crimson Stud” is always somebody that stands out, I found myself drawn to his background work – again with the facial expressions and gestures.

Kymberleigh Krzysztofiak-Cowley (Boy it must be annoying having to fill out forms with a pen with that long name. I hope her middle name is Anastasia, or something that will make it even worse) is somebody that I have been drawn to every single time I’ve seen the WA Ballet Company in action. She has this charisma about her, the X Factor. I can’t explain it. The girl is a star in the making. I believe her when she is in character. A wonderful performer no doubt.

In Act 1, they brought out some dogs. I’m serious. Some of the background characters had dogs out there with them on a lead. Three of them. A brown dog, and two black dogs. This was a peculiar highlight of the evening in a comical way, allow me to explain. When the dogs were walked out during a big group scene, the crowd were shocked and happy to see some animals get some stage time. What was most fun about all of this though is watching the dogs… be dogs. One black dog was a happy one, standing the whole time and wagging it’s tail up the back. The brown dog was in the middle, happy but also at times relaxing and having a lay down as the dancing was taking place (Star making moment, the brown dog started scratching itself and it was hilarious). The other black dog? This is the one that killed me most, and props to the young lady that had to look after him/her because I could sense her slight frustration but she kept it together SO well. It was clearly a little sleepy (yawning more than 10 times) and really wanted to lay down. This dog laid down first out of the other dogs and the crowd laughed over it. As this young lady sat down on a seat with the dog in front of her, the dog sat on it’s bum on the bottom of her dress facing away from the crowd. Just this big black bum squashed on her outfit, you can’t write this stuff. He kept wanting to lay down but she was trying so hard to keep the dog from trying to sleep on stage. Here’s the best bit. When the crowd applauded, it was the only dog of the 3 to break the 4th wall and acknowledge it. It doesn’t end there. Later on the dogs were brought back out and it was only one brown dog and one black dog. I laughed so hard because I knew from the previous instance the 2nd black dog must have been relieved of his/her duties and was backstage laying down probably having a nap. I loved analysing this whole situation. Honestly such a highlight, I am glad this happened. Please keep this dog on. I want to know that this girl has another 2 weeks of sleepy dog to deal with.

Seeing the whole group work together in their big routines was always a highlight, just so much pageantry and elegance – you all work together so well . I am sorry to those I have left out, you were all really precise and brilliant as well, everybody was on point in the background again with gestures and expressions. I can’t go on about everybody individually otherwise I’ll be typing forever and this review is becoming a novel.

Final props go to WASO – twice in a week I have heard them in action and it never disappoints. You are fast becoming my favorite thing going today.

In conclusion, Giselle is another home run for the WA Ballet Company who have been around a while but seem to really be hitting their stride in 2019. Giselle runs from September 13-28th, it runs 2 hours 15 and tickets range from $15-$120. In November they are doing Alice In Wonderland from the 21st till December 15 which is definitely going to be one of their craziest shows they have ever done. Another stellar night for the WABC and I look forward to being back in November!

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