Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo Festival Theatre, Edinburgh ****
There are some jokes that, even when you know the punchline, have the power to make you laugh every time. This is a feeling that fans of Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo know well. If you’ve ever seen their homage to Act II of Swan Lake, you’ll anticipate all the “accidental” trips and falls, the stomps across the stage in pointe shoes and the raised fists. Yet, it’s still hilarious.
It’s been four years since the New York-based ballet company last visited Scotland and watching them feels like stretching out on a pool-side lounger. In the midst of political madness and financial doom and gloom, this group of talented male dancers offers unmitigated fun and relaxation. You don’t have to work hard at a “Trocks” gig, there’s no need to figure out hidden meanings or subtexts, you just sit back and let the gags, gaffes and gorgeous gowns wash over you.
The Swan Lake opener offered a blend of straight-up slapstick that had the whole theatre laughing, and seriously good dancing that received well-deserved cheers and applause. In particular, Takoma Yoshino (or Vavara Laptopova to give him his Trocks handle), shone in the role of Swan Queen. Special mention also goes to the impossibly, and therefore hilariously, tall Joshua Thake (aka Eugenia Repelskii) who in Balanchine’s Vivaldi Suite parodied the entire neo-classical genre perfectly.
If all the Trocks had to offer was humour, the joke would have worn off soon after the company’s formation in 1974. Almost 50 years later, they’re still going strong because people come for the laughs, but stay for the dancing. Tonight was no different, and the love and respect they hold for the Russian classical traditions they mock so affectionately were there in abundance.