The BalletBoyz: Deluxe, Theatre Royal, Glasgow ***
Bradley 4:18 is not traditional BalletBoyz fare, and when the woman behind me whispers crossly “this isn’t what I was expecting” I’m not surprised. She may not have been pleased, but others will be delighted with what Maxine Doyle has done with this talented all-male company.
Best known for her work with London-based theatre company Punchdrunk, Doyle has taken the six dancers and turned them into inebriated, violent everymen. Heads are banged against the floor, boots meet flesh and brute masculinity is in full effect. There’s wit, mischief and dynamism here, but the grace and beauty usually so evident in BalletBoyz’ work is missing in action.
Happily, Chinese choreographer Xie Xin is close behind with her gorgeous new piece, Ripple. In a short filmed interview, an illuminating precursor to the performance, she explains how challenging it has been to work with a group of solely male dancers. Well you wouldn’t know it though – Ripple stays true to its title and is a beauteous mass of gentle waves and spiralling whirlpools.
Over-sized shirts and trousers both help and hinder the process, accentuating the flow but masking the muscular movement. The tenderness and prowess this company is famous for is in abundance, however, and despite her reservations Xie clearly got under their skin.