Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Prince of Pagodas, Birmingham Royal Ballet

The Prince of Pagodas made its UK début on Thursday in a world exclusive rendition by the Birmingham Royal Ballet at The Lowry Theatre in Manchester's Salford Quays.

Now, I'm a fan of traditional dance, but this was a truly beautiful performance with some of the most innovative choreography and the most exceptional staging I've ever seen performed in a ballet. You can tell this is a world class piece.
The piece is originally a Japanese ballet that seemingly inspired BRB's Artistic Director, David Bintley, during his stewardship of the Tokyo Ballet. Together with Rae Smith of Warhorse fame, Bintley tells the tale of a young Emperor's daughter and her twisted relationship with her evil (obviously) step-mother.

So, Wicked Witch of Tokyo tries to get little Empress married off to a suitor, four princes from the four corners of the world attend a meeting to showcase their, well, pirouettes. They come from China, Central Africa, America and Russia, bearing gifts and culturally specific dance routines. Mr Africa's tribal warrior jig was pretty convincing, I think I'd have become Mrs Congo after that.

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Still, lil' Miss picky isn't playing ball and instead summons the courage to say no by remembering the love she once had for her long lost brother, by dancing with him in her head. Anyway, one thing leads to and step-mother ends up planting a belter of a bitch slap on her face and proceeds to dance gang-bang style with all four bachelors. Cheeky slut.

Meanwhile, little Empress has ran away with a Salamander into the Salamander Kingdom...
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We now step through the looking glass into a world of dancing seahorses, a step-mother octopus and "The Fire Dance," which is bloody amazing and sees Evil Mum and the four gents dance in red costume, flickering like flames! Oosh, it's a whirlwind and eventually Salamander pops back up and reveils to her that he's actually her brother! He was turned into a Salamander by the Queen Bitch so she could inherit the thrown (in some wierd law of succession). 

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As you can imagine there's a fierce battle to reunite Prince Salamander with his father and oust the evil Queen and all with incredible costume, dance and orchestral music.

You can catch Prince of Pagodas in Manchester, London, Birmingham and Plymouth, book now!