IN an era when everything is being deconstructed and re-imagined, sometimes it’s more radical to just leave things alone. Which is exactly what Royal New Zealand Ballet has done with its gorgeous, and unashamedly traditional, production of Giselle.
Royal New Zealand Ballet: Giselle
Edinburgh Festival Theatre
Johan Kobborg and Ethan Stiefel may have tinkered with Marius Petipa’s late 19th-century choreography, but the plot, structure and many of the steps remain intact. The desire to update is often born out of a need to make something relevant to modern-day audiences, but Giselle’s storyline is so other-worldly, part of our enjoyment lies in how fantastical it is.
Keen to sew his wild oats before settling down to married life with Lady Bathilde, Count Albrecht falls in love with young village girl Giselle. Needless to say, it doesn’t end well, and our weak-hearted eponymous heroine dies of a broken heart when she discovers Albrecht’s deceit.
The lively gathering that precedes this tragedy is full of merriment and energetic ensemble work, deftly executed by Royal New Zealand Ballet’s talented dancers. But it’s Act Two which Giselle is best known for – when Albrecht almost gets his comeuppance at the hands of supernatural creatures (all former scorned women), the Wilis.
Here, the stunning pointe work, precision timing and emotionally rich performances draw us deep into the action. As the once carefree, now heartbroken Giselle, Lucy Green brings both girlish charm and gravitas to the role, while only a fool would mess with Mayu Tanigaito, Queen of the merciless Wilis.
• Run ends today