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REVIEW | Penguin Cafe Mixed Program | Birmingham Royal Ballet

Birmingham Royal Ballet bring a triple bill bursting with colour this season with three contrasting pieces that showcase the masterly talent of the vibrant young company.

Opening with Macmillan’s Concerto, a classical ballet in unison that exposes the skill and precision of the dancers. The piece has a plain backdrop with shades of colour that transition to portray the mood of the piece. The opening dance is completely captivating as the dancers glide across the stage together as one. The highlight of the piece is Jenna Roberts’ and Tyrone Singleton’s pas de deux which is both simple yet striking. As a moon glistens in the background, Roberts’ body contours gracefully using Tyrone as her barre, her elegant curved movement creates a romantic performance.

David Bintley’s ‘Still Life’ At The Penguin Cafe is a masterpiece. In 1988 when the ballet first premiered the state of our planet wasn’t a priority for many, and its spotlight on hunting and extinction is excellently depicted through humour and vitality. Samara Downs’ sashaying Ram alongside Iain Mackay is dazzling and fresh. Tzu-Chao Chou is cheeky and chirpy as the Texas Kangeroo Rat and Laura Day brings superb energy to the stage as Humboldt’s Hog-nosed skunk flea.

However, it’s Brandon Lawrence and Céline Gittens alongside young dancer Amber Cook who create tranquility with their moving performance of Now Nothing. Standing out is Tyrone Singleton as the spectacular zebra who oozes rhythm and power as he entirely dominates the stage. The infectious personalities of the dancers and their animated expressions alongside the beautifully crafted costumes create an absorbing performance.

Ending the evening with Macmillan’s quirky and unique choreography in Elite Syncopations, danced to the ragtime music of Scott Joplin and more. With the band live on stage, the rough edges of the piece such as the empty stage background is filled with the exceptional colour of the performance. Jenna Roberts shines with her sass and strength, commanding the stage remarkably. The moments between the graceful Yvette Knight and Tzu-Chao Chou brought an abundance of humour to the performance with the slapstick nature of their partnering.

Birmingham Royal Ballet prove their talent with another radiating programme that combines comedy, style and intricate technique. It was a delight to watch the new dancers who have recently joined the company blend in seamlessly as they bring a breath of fresh air to the slick company.

Birmingham Royal Ballet are currently at the Birmingham Hippodrome, tickets and information can be found here.

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