Ian Macmillan,
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‘Swan Lake act 2’, ‘Pas de Trois des Odalisques (Paquita)’, ‘Majisimas’, ‘The Dying Swan’, ‘La Trovatiara’

How pleasant, at the end of a week in which, to quote my morning paper’s headline, we had been ‘To Hell And Back!”, to proceed to the Peacock Theatre, safe in the knowledge that The Trocks would raise the spirits. And indeed they did.

No change at the start – we had the customary pre-curtain cod-Russian announcement of changes rendering the programme useless as regards matching cast to roles, but no matter – it’s the ensemble that counts at these shows. And, other than a backwards somersault that I don’t recall seeing before, “Swan Lake” Act II was the accustomed mix of parody, accident, and expertise. Von Rothbart is still having a horrendous hair day, that swan is still dragged across stage on the end of a string, The Prince and Benno are no better as porteurs than in the past, the fourth cygnet still misbehaves outrageously, and the audience loved it.

The variable items for the evening were “Paquita” Pas de Trois (with some truly spectacular pirouettes) and the familiar down-scattering ‘execution’ of the Dying Swan, now with a new bit of business involving a damaged right wing. These bracketed “La Trovatiara” – new, I think and, as the title might imply, set for a quintet to excerpts from La Traviata, but on the dockside in Tripoli, some distance from 19th century Paris. Its high point, in every sense, had to be the Pas de Trois in which the two diminutive male characters barely reached above the waist of the company’s tallest dancer on pointe.

“Majisimas” closed the show – another piece new to me, looking just like a Spanish-style divertissement that could have come from a three-act ballet. It uses music from Massenet’s Le Cid and was danced virtually straight, with very few obvious laughs, and included more moments of supreme technical display. After the curtain, we had a Broadway-style high-kicking routine to “Noo York, Noo York”, to which we all clapped along before going out into the night to await whatever the financial sector has in store for us in the week ahead.