In a narrative work that premiered in January 2015, choreographer Boris Eifman continues a career-long interest in psychological drama, basing Up and Down on Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night.
A psychiatrist at the beginning of a brilliant career treats a beautiful young patient whose troubles stem, it emerges, from her father’s incestuous advances and her mother’s death. Doctor and patient marry.
But the guilt money of the patient’s father lands the couple in a life of luxurious dissipation, and the doctor’s brilliance, and then mind, gradually unravel.
The plot is certainly Fitzgerald’s, but Eifman’s handling is a world away. Calling himself a ‘choreographer-psychoanalyst’, this translates into some asylum caricatures and writhing, emotionally tortured subjects that many critics found unsatisfying.
But it’s necessary to take a Boris Eifman ballet on the choreographer’s own terms, and as a piece of extravagant dance theatre, his works rarely disappoint audiences.
Few disagree that the dancers of Eifman Ballet St. Petersburg are a spectacularly athletic bunch, and set pieces in nightclubs and full flapper attire show off their contagious energy.
The steps are full of right angles and frozen airborne figures in startling shapes.
All plays against a recorded soundtrack of Gershwin, Schubert and Alban Berg, while designs by Zinovy Margolin and Olga Shaishmelashvili set a racy Twenties mood.
So, an education in clear-sighted narrative and subtle characterisation this is not. But Eifman Ballet Up and Down tickets will certainly guarantee you an entertaining night.
|What||Eifman Ballet Saint Petersburg: Up and Down, London Coliseum|
|Where||London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, , London , WC2N 4ES | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
06 Dec 16 – 10 Dec 16, Saturday at 2pm and 7.30pm
|Website||Book via the ENO website|