BalletBoyz @ The Litchfield Garrick Theatre Review

Gripping from the start til the end, Ballet Boyz: Fourteen Days is truly a piece of art that shows the balance and imbalance of all aspects of modern culture. With five pieces that have been created over just fourteen days, it is gripping from start to finish.

Dance production by the BalletBoyz to premier at Sadler's Wells on 10 October 2017. Choreographers Javier de Frutos, Craig Revel Horwood, Ivan Perez and Christopher Wheeldon have teamed up with composers Scott Walker, Charlotte Harding, Joby Talbot and Keaton Henson to create this piece.

Choreographers Javier de Frutos, Craig Revel Horwood, Ivan Perez and Christopher Wheeldon have teamed up with composers Scott Walker, Charlotte Harding, Joby Talbot and Keaton Henson to create this piece. Image courtesy of the Litchfield Garrick.

The whole show iscomposed of 5 different pieces all produced by a different choreographer and composer. Imbalance and balance are used as a theme throughout all 5 of the pieces but all portraying a very different story that are interpreted completely differently by each audience member.

First up is Javier De Frutos and Scott Walker’s piece ‘The Title is in the Text’. With a simple set consisting of nothing but a see-saw, the style of piece stands out from the rest to me. Playing with each action having a reaction, the whole piece seems to replicate the idea that there is consequence for everything – the see-saw being a perfect focal point for this concept. Although, this is completely my own interpretation of the meaning of this piece, which I believe is intentional, I am curious to what the team behind the piece truly want to convey to the audience. The lighting and sound fit perfectly into the hands of this piece, with voice over reflecting aspects within modern society. The connection between all the actors is astounding and shows the true working of a solid team. For an opening this piece really sets the standard for the following pieces.

The second piece is lighter hearted in a way, as the dancers enter the stage in patterned shirts and bare legs. This piece, titled ‘Human Animal’ is choreographed by Ivan Perez and composed by Joby Talbot. The lighting is definitely the most creative and thought-out; replicating what appears to be a watering-hole that the animals parade around. Five dancers prance around the stage for what I see as antelopes or a similar creature using primarily their legs, transferring their weight from leg to leg in an animal like fashion, this piece is definitely clear and easy to understand unlike many of the other pieces. Although the music is pleasant to listen to and I think it is beautifully orchestrated, I don’t feel it fits with the piece in the same way some of the others do.

Consisting of only two men, the third piece shows a true connection between them. Using each other to balance and support, it is a wonderful piece full of passion and heartfelt emotions. Simplistic lighting that focuses on just the dancers and a beautiful and emotional piece of music show the yearning between two lovers who want nothing else but each other’s embrace. With Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography and Keaton Henson’s musical talent, this piece is nothing but raw emotion and human connection.

The fourth piece is one I am quite looking forward to, with choreography by Craig Revel Horwood and the score by Charlotte Harding. This piece is the most entertaining but appears to lack in a story line compared to the others. Still, I thoroughly enjoy it. With all dancers in matching outfits consisting of a pink shirt, white trousers and blazers, I couldn’t help but feel this is the most jazzed up piece in the show; featuring plenty of spotlights and a heavy jazz score. An important aspect of this piece is the considerable amount of tap dancing, which fascinates me as they are all perfectly in time with the music and eachother – not a tap out of place. Although seemingly the least meaningful piece in the show, it is by far the most enjoyable.

‘Fallen’ choreographed by Russell Maliphant and composed by Armand Armar, well-known for his compostition for French films, is the longest piece in the show filling the entire second half. Having won the National Dance Award for Best Modern Choreography in 2013, I expect more from this piece. I feel that previous parts of the show out shine this final piece however but this doesn’t distract from the sheer talent and effort. With army themed costumes and flawless timing, it reflects the inner workings of a fine tuned machine through its exemplary movement and perfected movements – it’s no wonder it once won a National Dance Award.

The main part of the piece that stands out and amazes me the most is the sheer strength, connection and trust the dancers have with eachother. Throwing their body weight between each other, flipping themselves over one another and trust falling from great heights. All I can say is I would not like to be the person to write the risk assessments for this show. The body control and concentration blows my mind and gives me a whole new level of respect for dancers. Personally, I see the piece as more of a physical theatre style than a dance piece but I enjoy it whatever it may have call itself.

As someone who is not majorly into dance pieces or ever enjoyed shows like Strictly or watched more than one ballet – I thoroughly enjoy this collection of pieces. I don’t think it’s suited to everyone’s tastes, but if you’re an avid theatre goer or enjoy alternative pieces of entertainment – I recommend BalletBoyz: Fourteen Days. I will definitely be looking at what their up to next. 4/5

Review written by Cara Rees.

BalletBoyz: Fourteen Days was show on Saturday 18th November 2017 at the Litchfield Garrick Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop