The last time I saw the Trocks, I felt that their comic ballet schtick had lost a little of its lustre. The current production – the usual combination of high art and low camp – is sensational.
The secret of this New York-based company of male dancers who perform all the parts including the female roles (complete with tutus, leotards and dancing on point) is their intrinsic respect and love of ballet. Their parodies of Swan Lake and Raymonda’s Wedding, which top and tail the evening, are razor-sharp – their timing is superb, their dancing better than ever.
The trick of the Trocks is they are not skewering ballet but the vanity of ballet dancers. Thus a prince exits head-first into the scenery while distracted by his own brilliance, while the internecine jealousies of competing ballerinas are conveyed by the narrowed eyes or an errant foot that smacks into a pouting mouth.
But underneath the pratfalls and preening there is a rock-solid balletic conviction. Some sequences – like a grand classique pas de deux – are delivered straight until the very last moment. Halfway through Emanuel Abruzzo’s solo as Maya Thickenthighya I forgot I was watching a man, so authentically female is his performance. Other key figures are Robert Carter’s Olga Supphozova, who comes over like a cross between Talluluah Bankhead and Carmen Miranda, and the giant Joshua Grant, whose statuesque Prince (Ashley Romanoff-Titwillow) is invariably partnered with a dancer half his size yet who can perform a series of leaps and entrechats that wouldn’t disgrace the Marinsky. And no Trocks performance would be complete without Paul Ghiselin’s feather-shedding, knock-kneed Dying Swan solo as the veteran ballerina Ida Nevasayneva.
The brief Riverdance finale brings the house down or rather, to its feet. Amazingly, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo has been at this for 37 years.
The company has never been better.