La Fille Mal Gardee, Russian State Ballet of Siberia, Regent Theatre, Ipswich, Thursday, February 7

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La Fille Mal Gardee, Russian State Ballet of Siberia, Regent Theatre, Ipswich, Thursday, February 7

The Russian ballet company from Krasnoyarsk in Siberia are now a regular fixture at the Regent, and their delightful production of La Fille Mal Gardee – its first showing in Ipswich – provides a real mid-winter treat.

One of the oldest and sunniest of ballets, and set to a jolly score by Hertel, it’s a light-hearted bucolic frolic with plenty of humour and lots of energetic dancing. And it has the advantage of an easy to follow story.

We are in an 18th century French village, and Widow Simone is determined that her wayward daughter Lise should marry Alain, the son of the wealthy local squire. Sadly, not only is Alain two bales short of a haystack but pretty Lise much prefers the charms of local farmer, Colas. Eventually, the Widow’s plans are thwarted, and true love wins the day.

Elena Pogorelaya and Mikhail Khushutin as Lise and Colas made a charming lead couple, he especially spring-heeled in his solos, and Denis Pogorely flung himself around the stage with eccentric abandon as the simpleton Alain.

Anastasia Koreshnikova, gave a masterclass in character dancing as Widow Simone, a role usually played by a male dancer in drag. The comedy was broad, but she made sure that the story-telling didn’t get lost in all the slapstick.

The choreography, by Mark Peretokin based the original stagings by John Daubernal and Alexander Gorsky, contains makes many technical demands and both the soloists and the corps de ballet rose to the occasion, dancing with musicality and precision.

JAMES HAYWARD

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