Royal Ballet – reviews of 'playful' new triple bill

Jun 5, 2014

Two all-time ballet masterpieces and a gripping premiere leave critics in high spirits

Bill Cooper

What you need to know
The Royal Ballet's new triple bill has opened in Covent Garden. The final mixed programme of the season features revivals of Frederick Ashton's The Dream, Jerome Robbins's The Concert and the premiere of Connectome.

Ashton's The Dream is a Romantic ballet inspired by Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night's Dream with a score by Mendelssohn, while Robbins's The Concert depicts the comical fantasies of a group of music lovers listening to a Chopin concert. Marriott's new work, Connectome, is inspired by new ideas about identity from neuroscience with music by Arvo Part. Runs until 13 June.

What the critics like
The programme features two beloved revivals, says Debra Craine in The Times. It starts with Ashton's The Dream, which looks and sounds a treat, and ends in high spirits with a chance for the Royal Ballet dancers to be silly in the slapstick Concert. 

There are two all-time masterpieces in this mostly "effervescently playful" triple bill, says Mark Monahan in the Daily Telegraph. Ashton's The Dream is given an immensely enjoyable rendition and Robbins's intoxicating Chopin-driven satire is an even funnier fantasia.  

Connectome "holds its own against the two old-timers in the programme", says Judith Mackrell in The Guardian. Neuroscience is a challenging subject, yet Marriott has translated its ideas into "physically gripping" ballet-friendly metaphors.

What they don't like
"Connectome is a very polished production, but it's a little too polite," says Zoe Anderson in The Independent. In neuroscience, a connectome is map of neural wiring that gives an individual their identity, but Marriott's fluent ballet needs more personality.

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