Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, London

Jenny Gilbert, The Independent
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Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, aka the New York drag troupe The Trocks, are no strangers to these shores, but it was apt that they should open in the blue-rinse heartland of Kent the day the Commons voted for gay marriage. To a sold-out house, the 17-strong all-male company brought nothing but pleasure, delivering a programme of 19th-century classics with both gusto and technical aplomb. A generation reared on Lily Savage and Dame Edna “gets” The Trocks very quickly, and the jokes in Swan Lake Act II brought the house down. Impressive, too, how the company keeps the comedy fresh: many of the gags were new to me, though I still enjoyed seeing Prince Siegfried find swan poop on his shoe, and the swan-maiden two rows back felled by Odile’s grand battement. Oh yes, and the renegade cygnet in the famous arms-linked pas de quatre, who’s never quite in step with the other three.

The comic timing is immaculate, but even cleverer is the way the material appeals on multiple levels. Know-nothings adore the slapstick. Balletomanes lap up the history (where else can you see La Vivandière of 1844?), and the sending up of ballet manners (only a tad exaggerated). And everyone loves the living proof that gender needn’t be destiny.

The Independent