Review: La Fille Mal Gardee, Russian State Ballet of SIberia, Regent Theatre, Ipswich, Friday, March 6

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia, La Fille Mal Gardee

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia, La Fille Mal Gardee - Credit: Archant

On the second night of The Russian State Ballet of Siberia’s visit to Ipswich, the curtain opened to La Fille Mal Gardee. A pastoral romance set in the heart of the French countryside.

In the early morning glow, Widow Simone awakes and clucks around her young wayward daughter, Lise. Left unguarded Lise quickly falls in love with farm boy, despite her mother’s protestations she should marry the son of a wealthy proprietor.

Mischief, merry-making and Maypole dancing follow, comprising a warm and comical ballet.

The Ipswich Regent was treated to a live orchestra on Friday night. Lilting flutes and violins guided the springing steps of the cast.

Taking the centre stage as the part of Lise was Elena Pogorelaya. The petite ballerina was pretty in sequined tutus. Her entrance merited admiration from the audience and awoke childhood dreams of pirouetting. It was during the farmhand’s party however that Pogorelaya showed her prowess, high-kicking a tambourine in time with the percussion.

The colourful costumes added a delightful fresh twist to the landscape scenery. Lise’s friends frolicked in coral pink and lime-green frocks, their hair dotted with meadow flowers hinting at the traditional Russian folk headdresses.

Donning a shock of orange hair and dashing around the stage in bright blue leggings and was the wealthy proprietor’s son, Alain. Embodied skilfully by Denis Pogorelyy, his oafish gestures elicited chuckles from the crowd. However, in chase for Lise’s heart he could not match the proud strong stance of Colas, the young farm boy.

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The ballet was originally choreographed by Jean Dauberval, and was first performed in Bordeaux, just a fortnight before the French Revolution. The story paints an idealised picture of country living in the eighteenth century with leaping peasants and bountiful crop.

But far away from the turmoil and strife of the era, the Ipswich Regent purely enjoyed the expertise and discipline performed by a world-renowned company.

In the second half the wedding celebrations were a cheerful close to evening. The main dame, Widow Simone, played by Alexander Kuimov, demonstrated why the ballet is often described as a summer pantomime with her boisterous clog dance.

It was carefree joyful performance, which made even the most physically demanding movements seem simple.