ENB Le Corsaire at Milton Keynes Theatre (ATGTICKETS.COM)






Do I dare to suggest that ENB’s production of Le Corsaire
ushers in the season of good tidings and joy in Milton Keynes? This ballet is a
visual extravaganza with beautifully detailed sets, ravishing costumes, an
array of characters – pirates, slaves, pashas and concubines and jolly set
pieces. What is not to delight the audience? The story is somewhat weak. It is
loosely based on Byron’s 1814 poem The Corsair, which was then transformed into
a libretto by Saint-Georges and Mazillier, but the version we see is by
Anna-Maria Holmes. The music is also an adventure - a cocktail of music by nine
composers, notable among them Delibes, Drigo, Adam and Minkus.  
Their atmospheric music played by the ENB orchestra
conducted by Gavin Sutherland is exceptional and forms a wonderful pairing with
the movement on stage. The choreography merges the music and the steps
magically.


What is the story? It is the adventure tale of a pirate,
Conrad (Francesco Gabriele Frola) and his sweetheart, Medora , beautifully
interpreted by Erina Takahashi. Medora is kidnapped by Lankendem the slave
trader but after many contretemps she is rescued by her dashing pirate. Finally
together the lovers sail away, not into the sunset but into a ship wreck!  
But this is jumping the gun (or off the
plank!) The first act opens in the bazaar where Lankendem (Ken Saruhashi) – the
baddy – is selling slaves to the Pasha – a delightfully doddery comedic pasha portrayed
by Michael Coleman. His assistant (Shevelle Dynott) is an altogether captivating
character too. The scene is set in an unnamed foreign city very much like
Istanbul; the ‘foreignness’ of the set is thrilling with water sellers and shop
keepers and slave girls and  a myriad of
other characters. The dancing in this act is breath taking. Mention must be make
of Shiore Kase as Guinare but, for me the highlight here was the athletic flexible
dancing of Jeffrey Cirio in the role of Ali.


But all the dancers are exceptional ; Erina Takahashi and
Shioi Kase are lithe and seemingly weightless; both are delicate and Takahashi  
expresses sweetly the love she feels for
Conrad.  Frola is a strong, athletic
dancer, performing the most amazing grands jétés and sauts de basque seemingly effortlessly
in his solo dance but the pas de deux with Medora  is the pièce de resistance of the ballet,
fairly traditional, but accomplished and
tender; theirs is an excellent partnering.



Act ll, the Pirates’ Cave and Act lll, the  Pasha’s Palace are both set in visually
stunning sets. Bob Ringwood is responsible for the design ondemf these and of
the exquisite costumes. It is in these acts we see the denouement of the story –
the fight between Birbanto (Erik Woolhouse) and Conrad, and Birbanto being  the escape of the lovers by boat in a violent
storm which although ends in their drowning they will be  together forever.


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 ENB’s  Le Corsaire is at Milton Keynes Theatre until
26th November


www.atgtickets.com

0844 871 7653

Booking fee applies