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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-28-10

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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Akram Khan's Giselle - Review
Review by Dasha Ibrajeva and photo by Lauren Liotardo

DO you know this feeling when you see something weird, extraordinary, bizarre, from time to time even creepy, but you can't stop watching because it's truly bewitching and you kind of like it? That's what I felt at the premier of Akram Khan's Giselle that took place at the Liverpool Empire Theatre, on Wednesday, 25 October 2017. What can I say? Hell yes, that's an eccentrically good production that must be seen by everyone!

Performed by English National Ballet and English National Ballet Philharmonic, Khan's Giselle is a new, contemporary version of the much-loved romantic ballet. Together with dramaturg Ruth Little, Khan modernises the classic plot and makes it more proximate to our times. Instead of peasants and rural residents - a community of migrant garment factory workers who lost their jobs. In place of aristocracy - cruel capitalists. Giselle is no longer a naive girl. The main heroine of Khan is a proud little woman who has already experienced much in life, but still managed to stay sincere and kind hearted. Hilarion is not just an honest peasant who is jealously in love with Giselle and is fighting for his happiness. Now he is an opportunist, who trades with and mimics the landlords for his own and his community's profit. But even with all of these metamorphoses, the main story stays the same - the rich boy (Albrecht) pretends to be an outcast, so he can be close to his beloved girl (Giselle). The girl finds out the boy has a secret fiancée, aaand the tragedy happens. Sad story, isn't it?

I would say that Khan's Giselle is very mature, deep and philosophical production. It gives some space for your imagination and proves that sometimes you don't need a huge amount of decorations to tell the story. By the way, talking about decoration and set designs, I was impressed by an implacable monolithic stone wall with palm prints of desperate people being used as the class divide between rich and poor. It was a very strong metaphor. And what about the costumes of the factory Landlords? I still cannot forget this gorgeous white 5m wide dress that was an absolute masterpiece. Well, no surprise, that's what you get when you have an Academy Award winning designer on board. I'm talking now about Tim Yip, who developed scenography and costumes for the play and who is also known for his work on the hit film:- "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

Music is another gem that makes the production so unique and distinctive. Gifted composer Vincenzo Lamagna has upgraded the score to the whole new level, leaving the original melody lines written by Adolphe Adam only at key points. He is using some oriental motifs in combination with electronic sounds, which makes the score so extraordinary.

Talking about the casting team, I'd really love to highlight 2 performers who, in my opinion, made this production so triumphant. All Act I I couldn't take my eyes off Hilarion (Jeffrey Cirio). He was so bright, energetic and flexible that he will stay in my memory for a long time (even his role was not the main one). The same I can say about Myrtha (Stina Quagebeur). She was exceptionally good and left far stronger impression than the lead principal Tamara Rojo (Giselle).

Akram Khan's reimagined Giselle will be performed at the Liverpool Empire Theatre until Saturday, 28 October 2017. Make sure you catch it!

For more information, visit:- Giselle.Ballet.Org.UK.

4 out of 5 stars.

Did you see this show? Do you agree with our 4 star rating? Email us to:- with your views and thoughts about this show.


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Southport Reporter (R) Bourder




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