The first of the triple bills in the Royalís run at Sadlerís featured a revival of a MacMillan work, a return of Ashley Pageís Fearful Symmetries, and a London appearance for some of the works made for the Dance Bites tour earlier this year. I saw the final performance of the programme on 13 July: this featured Tuckettís Loveís Fool rather than Baldwinís Towards Poetry as the opening work.
Loveís Fool is a light hearted, rather insubstantial piece which injects a note of levity into an otherwise rather dark programme. Its subject is an office romance, where the shy office manager (Christopher Saunders) is urged to declare his affections for one of his staff (Yanowsky) by an odd visitor who only he can see (Luke Heydon in an ill fitting clownís costume), all the while under scrutiny by the office staff (a corps of six). Itís pleasant enough and springs no great surprises. In fact the mysterious stranger facilitating a romance seemed rather similar to the guardian angel idea in AMPís Cinderella.
My Brother, My Sisters was a much nastier experience: possibly not nasty enough, though. It seems to have been made by Macmillan in one of his more sadistic moods. Not only does it portray the most unpleasantly dysfunctional family playing twisted sexual and other games with each other, it puts the dancers through extremely demanding contortions. Leanne Benjamin and Carlos Acosta writhe under, over and around each other: David Pickering is asked to lift two intertwined dancers simultaneously. It was disconcerting stuff, not at all easy to follow (the low levels of lighting made it difficult to distinguish some of the women from each other, but maybe thatís the point: is he with the third or fourth girl now?). Carlos Acosta made all the jumps and lifts look preposterously easy, and partnered with care: but there was nevertheless no sense of threat in his performance. I havenít seen this work before, but it felt oddly lacking in menace, and the clash between the first and second sisters (Benjamin and Revie, both usually impressive in MacMillan) lacked real tension until the very end.
Fearful Symmetries was made by Ashley Page in 1994, and remains one of the best things heís done. Itís a solidly constructed piece, tightly fitted to Adamís music which seems to propel the dancers across the stage. The fifteen dancers throw themselves into it with real ferocity. Itís interesting to see Mukhamedov in a completely abstract work for a change: he still projects a remarkable intensity while zipping across the stage. Shi Ning Liu and Abegglen also looked as if they relished every step. Bull, Galeazzi and Yanowsky were the lead women. It seemed very much a team effort, though rather than a star vehicle.
Sadlers was still surprisingly full, considering that this isnít the stronger of the Royalís triple bills, and that there is plenty of competition for dance audiences in London right now. Overall, the Royalís dancers were looking on good form, and there is lots to look forward to here in the next few weeks.