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Subject: "RB Turn of the Screw" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #184
Reading Topic #184
Bruce Madmin

27-07-99, 07:51 AM (GMT)
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"RB Turn of the Screw"
   Is nobody going to say anything about this and the RB triple bill?!

Alas I have not the time to say much other than I found it rather strange the first time and the second time I was quite starting to warm to it. A great set - all projections - and costumes make it look handsome. The projections call for a front screen and that gives a feeling as if looking at it all through a dream. The dance supports this with scenes opening and closing in no obvious order (but that is probably just me!). There are soem interesting pdd and pdt - rather MacMillanesq. Tough music and an odd story mean that many will see once and perhaps shrink back. That would be a shame.

The other 2 pieces, Serenade and Rhapsody, are just glorious and if you absolutely hate the Tuckett these alone will lift you. (Unless of course you saw the Rhapsody in the original designs in which case you will feel compelled to witter on - at length and at every opportunity - about the new designs being worse than useless!)

Hopefully somebody will put some thoughts down that are more coherent (and better spelt!)

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: RB Turn of the Screw Ann Williams 27-07-99 1
     RE: RB Turn of the Screw Eugene Merrett 27-07-99 2
         RE: RB Turn of the Screw Jane 27-07-99 3
             RE: RB Turn of the Screw alison 29-07-99 4
                 RE: Jerry Douglas alison 29-07-99 5
                     RE: Jerry Douglas Anneliese 31-07-99 6

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Ann Williams

27-07-99, 09:57 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: RB Turn of the Screw"
In response to message #0
   I saw it too, Bruce. Lord, but I had a problem with that horrible, virtually undanceable Panufnik score. I kept thinking; why didn't he use the Britten score? But I agree that the sets and costumes were outstanding (I loved Bruce Sansome's strapless cocktail frock - oddly, he has never looked more like a man to me!). But the choreography wasn't up to much and I don't see this piece being revived.

I loved 'Serenade'. Every time I see this ballet, I fall more in love with it no matter how well or how badly it is danced, and last night the RB danced it pretty well after a ropey start. Christina McDermott, with her smooth, quietly assured dancing was outstanding.

The pyrotechnics of 'Rapsody' (Rhapsody?) were a revelation to me as I hadn't seen it before - I didn't know Ashton got as showy as this - but it was great fun and Carlos Acosta had us screaming with his jumping and spinning - he manage to look as if he were enjoying himself as well! Viviana D. was simply perfection - it seems to me she is dancing now better than she ever has.
A great evening.

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Eugene Merrett

27-07-99, 12:19 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: RB Turn of the Screw"
In response to message #1
   I liked the Turn of the Screw very much. However I think I agree with one critic in that it does need a bit more pace - it rather petered out towards the end. Much as I liked Yanowsky I think her role should have been more a character part. As it stands she is a bit too young and beautiful to be cast as demure governess!

Serenade and Rhapsody are amoung to two finest plotless ballets around - with outstanding performances from McDermott, Yanowsky, Acosta and Durante. So overall it was one the best RB evenings I have been too!

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27-07-99, 12:26 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: RB Turn of the Screw"
In response to message #2
   I saw it for the first time last night and was very disappointed at what seemed his really bad mishandling of the actual narrative. But I loved the sets, and some of the action had genuine power. But I didn't find it had enough tension and menace - no turning of the screw - and the end had no emotional impact.

Most unexpected was Mason's close resemblance to de Valois - on her first entrance I thought they'd provided a really sensational 2nd cast!

I thought Acosta was sensational - certainly the best since Baryshnikov - wonderful to see.

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29-07-99, 01:20 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: RB Turn of the Screw"
In response to message #3
   I agree with Bruce's estimate that Turn of the Screw looks better on a second viewing (even if, like me, you are stuck with a restricted view at the back of the stalls - I don't think headless ghosts was *quite* what Tuckett had in mind!). Although I suspect that familiarity with the story would help as well.

I thought Serenade had improved markedly since last week - the corps seemed far more at ease, and I remembered why it was that I absolutely adore this ballet.

Wildor was lovely in Rhapsody - I think I'd rate her over Durante in this one. But I do think she'd have been better suited to the more filigree look of the original designs. I also preferred Bruce Sansom's more understated performance: beautifully with the music, and didn't overdo the cute, cheeky bits, unlike Acosta, who needs to tone them down a bit, I think. When I saw him the other night, I thought his interpretation went beyond what I call the "Jack Wyngaard" look - and anyone who saw the late Wyngaard in Les Patineurs with London City Ballet will know exactly what I mean! However, he did of course jump beautifully, and it was his debut in the role, whereas Sansom has probably danced it dozens of times. (My perception of all these may have been altered by the fact that I was halfway up the 2nd Circle for one performance, and rear stalls for the other, of course).

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29-07-99, 01:28 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Jerry Douglas"
In response to message #4
   I forgot to add: when are the Royal Ballet going to get around to crediting Jerry for performing in Serenade? That's at least the third time that he's replaced Josh Tuifua, but Tuifua's name keeps coming up on the cast sheet, and the change is never announced onstage. Given the difference in colour, it's a bit of a noticeable omission!

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31-07-99, 04:24 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Jerry Douglas"
In response to message #5
   Well, Thursday evening at Sadler's Wells was pretty horrendous - nightmare traffic, arrived at 7.36 and had to watch "Serenade" on the monitor in the bar. So, I'm absolutely unable to comment on the performances - whited-out faceless dancers. I enjoyed what I could make out of the choreography and it seemed to be pretty well together. A point to note for celebrity-watchers - Clive James was first to the bar by a LONG margin!

Sir Tone and (I think) William Tuckett were sitting behind Mr. James - the boss seemed pleased with the way the performances went,judging by his demeanour.

On to the Turn of the Screw. I actually didn't have a problem with the music- I found it far more accessible than I'd expected to and I thought it worked well with the story. The sets/lighting were incredible, and I think that the lighting designer deserved a curtain call. I found the choreography effective on the whole as well (although the 2 servants added more of a comedy touch than any dramatic impetus, in our view!).

Irek and Bruce were fantastic in this, and Zenaida Yanowsky really impressed me. I was surprised at the curtain calls by how pretty she is when she smiles! The other three roles were also very convincingly performed, with particular honours going to Cervera. The sheer physical hard work that all the cast had to go through for this number was quite something!

I didn't quite feel that the ending worked - I'll have to re-read the book to decide how I feel about this ballet, I think. But the conviction of the performers really made it for me. I hadn't seen Irek's "Moody" curtain call before - worth the ticket price on its own. As Robin said when I showed him the cast list "Oh, Irek and some other people". But the "Other people" actually gave him a fair run for his money on this occasion - it was good to see a whole cast full of actor/dancers.

Rhapsody was lovely (even though when the curtain went up I thought all the women were leaning on a bar aving a quick restorative snifter!). Acosta is a stunning dancer - I'd like to see if he can act, too. Viviana just serenely sparkled her way through, no effort, just dancing. The rest of the cast showed good technique and good ensemble and generally sent me home in good spirits. Didn't do the same for Robin who was monumentally unimpressed by the choreography and even more unimpressed by the two lane closures with not a roadwork in sight on the A40! Arrived home at quarter to one....

Deborah Bull was signing her paperback (expanded and revised from the hardback) in the foyer after the show - I was a bit shocked to see how tiny she is up close. Do dancers grow under spotlights? She looks pretty healthy on stage!

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