It’s two years since this area was last visited by The Trocks — Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, to give the troupe its full name — and in that time they have considerably refined their show. But, by that, I don’t mean toned it down! At Milton Keynes Theatre on Tuesday, March 22, the ‘girls’ are as outrageous as ever, vying for attention, upstaging each other, dancing beautifully one moment, then pulling a hilarious face or falling over the next.
Before the curtain even goes up we are laughing at a cod Russian voice giving us spurious cast changes, and making the ridiculous names sound almost authentic: Ida Nevasayneva, Ivan Legupski, Sonia Leftova and Ashley Romanoff-Titwillow. The last is Prince Siegfried in the opening number, Act II of Swan Lake. Very tall, and in a ludicrous blond wig, he is actually a noble presence until he starts to lark around.
As Odette, Maya Thickenthiya can do the real Ivanov choreography, but the fixed, ingratiating smile and the odd twitch of the head make her a real hoot. Best of all is the well-known dance of the Little Swans. Linked by their arms they need to be in perfect unison, but number four is continually making a mess of it. (An even more outrageous version is performed by The Big Ballet, coming to Oxford’s New Theatre next month.) Two variations from the Act III pas de deux make an appearance. Romanoff-Titwillow looks very good here; Supphozova (dancing what would normally be Odile’s solo) mixes very accomplished technique with sublime comedy.
Next comes Go for Barocco to music by Bach, a well-observed send-up of early Balanchine, with the girls in austere black gym-slips. The third part opens with an unidentified classical pas de deux. The man is the diminutive South African Boysie Dakobe. He only joined the company last month and looks bemused at the size of his towering ballerina. He also plays it completely straight (perhaps they forgot to tell him that this is comedy), which makes an enjoyable interlude, as he puts on a spectacular show.
Marius Petipa’s Raymonda is a sumptuous, almost interminable, Russian work, concerning a count who abandons his Hungarian noblewoman fiancée to go on a crusade, while she is wooed by a sexy Saracen. The plot is incredibly complex, but The Trocks “ignore all of these plot intrigues and present the happy ending”. The work brings the whole company on stage in a demonstration of how you can do the steps properly and still make the whole thing hilarious. To Glazunov’s ravishing music we are treated to a feast of high camp.
The Trocks are at the Wycombe Swan tomorrow and on Saturday (tickets: 01494 512000, www.wycombeswan.co.uk), and at the Birmingham Hippodrome next Wednesday and Thursday.Oxford Times