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DIRECTOR: Elizabeth Triegaardt
CAST: Members of Cape Town City Ballet with guest artist Nicolette Loxton
CHOREOGRAPHY: David Poole after Coralli and Perrot
VENUE: Maynardville Park
UNTIL: February 17 (Sundays only)
Presenting this timeless classic of the ballet repertoire in a leafy setting, under a moonlit sky, is guaranteed to please a broad spectrum of the public in search of summer entertainment.
In the confines of a theatre, the niceties of technique account for a greater share of criteria when judging the merits of the production; al fresco, the sheer aesthetic appeal of Giselle predominates.
This version more than satisfies expectations of poetic spectacle: the wind-tossed drapery of the ghostly Wilis contrasts attractively with the bright costumes of Act One, and both are seen to advantage against gloomy verdure.
Strong leads on opening night from Laura Bosenberg (a demure and dainty Giselle) and Thomas Thorne (who rises elegantly to the technical challenge of Albrecht) ensure that Cape Town City Ballet’s production rewards those who appreciate prowess in soloists, as does Angela Hansford, well cast as Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis: she has both the stage presence and the ability to carry this role with conviction.
The corps, like the curate’s egg, are good in parts. In Act One, there is a distinct lack of co-ordination in their ensemble, but matters improve in Act Two when tableaux of white-clad dancers are formed around the serial pas de deux of Albrecht and Giselle.
Executants of the peasant pas de six of Act One give a creditable account of themselves, with a notable solo from Jesse Milligan, who brims with youthful energy.
Xola Putye brings endearing warmth to the antipathetic role of Hilarion, Giselle’s frustrated lover, while Jane Fidler, as Albrecht’s aristocratic fiancée, is suitably gracious and condescending towards her rustic rival. Both roles require dramatic rather than dancing ability, and the cameo performances of Putye and Fidler enhance this narrative ballet.
Thorne’s execution is a delight to watch, but he needs to inject more animation into his reading of Albrecht. This is a man in love, after all, and one whose remorse following the death of his beloved should be more emphatically portrayed.
Bosenberg skilfully manages the transition from adolescent infatuation in Act One to gentle resignation in Act Two, and this, with the easy confidence of her solos and partnership with Thorne, contributes significantly to the success of CTCB’s Giselle.