His Majesty’s Theatre, 16 May
On Thursday, May 16th I had the opportunity to check out The Western Australian Ballet's La Bayadère at His Majesty's Theatre in Perth.
I know what you're thinking. I'm a Rock N Roll Journalist. I cover concerts with rock bands. I work for Around The Sound, a music publication. I have to say though, La Bayadère has been making so much noise here in Perth that I had to check it out myself and I was not disappointed.
I've never been to a ballet show before, but I am always willing to check something out and immerse myself in what the art is that they are performing. To know what it is is one thing, but to understand it is another. I came out from this performance with a complete understanding of the art-form it is that they produce. I was very impressed.
La Bayadère is the story of Solor, son of the Maharajah, whom has pledged his undying love to the beautiful Nikiya, a bayadère (temple dancer). When he is forced by his father to marry the Governor-General’s daughter, a string of tragic consequences is unleashed.
The beauty of the production is in the fact that the story is told through dance. There is no dialogue. There is nothing but the power of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the performers on stage.
I don't want to give this story away. The story is something you should witness unfold yourself. I don't know much about the art of Ballet, so I'm going to talk about aspects of the show that I enjoyed in the only way I know how.
It's all in the details. These performers are professionals. It's dance, it's acting. To have the ability to pull both off with all the routines and costume changes is something I was very impressed by. It's in the nuances of the performance too. Throughout the proceedings there were times where I wasn't watching the dance, I was looking at the background characters and their ability to tell their own story through facial expressions. That is the nuance I enjoyed the most.
Now I want to speak of the characters. Chihiro Nomura was the young lady that played 'Edith'. Again with me it's her facial expressions that were on point as well as her wonderful dancing ability. I can't comment too much on the dancing in fear of not having the correct terminilogy - but she was fantastic. It was her character performance which grabbed me. The anger, the disappointment, the defiance - she had it all.
Another young woman performed as the true love of Solor, Nikiya, was the one and only Dayana Hardy Acuna. Dayana, you are a gem. She was in this role for a reason. I could not have been more impressed with the grace and emotion in her dance.
Strong character performances from The Maharajah (Andries Weidermann) and The Governer-General (Craig Lord-Sole) - performances that were vital to the story.
Big props to Julio Blanes, Carina Roberts, Ana Gallardo Lobaina and Polly Hilton for their stunning ability as well. All the men and women on this stage were a treat to see perform. You know who you are if you had a character trait that was easy to pick up on if you were in the background. I applaud you all.
Now It's time to end this by talking about the rockstar of the evening, portraying Solor - Matthew Lehmann. Matthew, I hope this review finds you, because you need to be told how tremendous your performance was. The dancing, the character work, the facial expressions, the body language; the nuances. The ability to act out a scene where you slowly but surely get more and more drunk without over exaggerating the effect the alcohol is having on you. It was a slow burn. It was realistic. You were hilarious. You told this whole story with just your face. Congratulations.
Many thanks to the West Australian Ballet for a great evening at His Majesty's Theatre. I am impressed with how well oiled the machine was on the evening. It was 3 hours long with 2 intermissions but the time seemed to fly by as you attained my attention unequivocally during a time in my life where my attention span is extremely erratic. Thank you again!
If you enjoyed this review and this show has piqued your interest, La Bayadère will be taking place at HMT on May 18, 22, 23, 24 and 25.
More information on ticketing can be found here https://waballet.com.au/whats-on/la-bayadere.