The company members (especially the men) have changed a lot since I last saw them. Quite a few of the old stalwarts have now moved on. Nevertheless:
The triple bill at Newcastle was: 'Cheese' (ch. Jeremy James), Ghost Dances (ch. Bruce), 'Parades Gone By (ch. Lindsay Kemp).
I just couldn't see the point of 'Cheese'. Frankly I was bored -lots of jerky upper body movements but not much else. I kept wishing they would just get on with it and go on to the next piece.
'Ghost Dances' is one of my favourites anyway. The three ghosts were Simon Cooper (as always), Branden Faulls and Martin Lindinger (the latter two new to me since I last saw the company). The piece is hauntingly evocative and moving and performed immaculately by the dancers.
And, special mention should go to young Robin Gladwin who, on this occasion danced the role normally assigned to Rafael Bonachela. I last saw Robin two years' ago on the Central Ballet students' tour and thought then that he had something special. I'm glad to see that Rambert have snapped him up as an Apprentice with the company and have given him a leading role.
'The Parades Gone By' pretty well brought the house down. The whole company performed with such gusto and enjoyment that they pulled the audience in with them. Valentino, Dietrich, Fred & Ginger, Dracula - they were all there. Every one of the performers was good, but it was nice to see Simon (as Dracula)showing, albeit briefly, what a good classical dancer he is and also nice to see the girls dancing en pointe (not something we are used to in Rambert these days).
But best of all was the mini-ballet of 'Beauty & the Beast' which must certainly have been influenced by the antics of the Trocks. When the 'Beast' whipped off his lion/beast costume and revealed an ash-blond 'page-boy' wig and blue-and-white striped tights, I thought the man next to me was going to explode! An all-singing all-dancing experience.
And, as an added bonus, the ageing Film Director was played by Christopher Bruce himself with great charm.
Walking back through the crowd to our various parking spots, I eavesdropped. The 'feel-good' factor was definitely up and running.
The downside was, on arriving back at my car, I found a parking ticket stuck to the windscreen, timed at 8.45 pm! What kind of parking policy is that? An expensive evening, but still well worth it.