Meow Meow is one of the star performers of the current cabaret circuit; Laura Morera one of the most interesting Principal Dancers in the Royal Ballet. They join forces in the late Kenneth MacMillan’s reading of Seven Deadly Sins, which he first choreographed in the 1960s and re-jigged for the Royal Ballet a decade later.
Seven Deadly Sins was the last major collaboration between the composer Kurt Weill and the playwright Bertolt Brecht, both refugees from Nazism. Having premiered in Paris in 1933, described as a ballet chanté (a ballet with songs), it’s a very characteristic morality play disguised as a cabaret.
It follows Anna on her travels through America in pursuit of a fortune for her family. The role of Anna is split between two performers that travel together as one: Anna the worldly, unscrupulous singer, and Anna the naive young dancer, who hopes to get her money without indulging in any of the seven deadly sins, each of which defines one stage of the journey.
The work is a bit of an oddity within the MacMillan canon: the choreography is a blend of cabaret, tap and show dance; the stage is peopled with grotesque characters in keeping with Brecht/Weill’s caustic morality play.
Whereas so many of Kenneth MacMilan’s works – Romeo and Juliet, Mayerling, Manon – have become staples of the repertoires of not only Britain’s Royal Ballet, but of many major companies the world over, Seven Deadly Sins fell into near-oblivion and was last performed decades ago.
It’s now been unearthed by Viviana Durante, a former Royal Ballet Principal, who was one of the foremost interpreters of MacMillan’s complex female characters. Durante has given herself the mission of finding and staging old MacMillan works; the first phase of her project, Steps Back In Time, performed at the Barbican a year ago, proved a revelation, even to seasoned MacMillan watchers.
Now, Viviana Durante brings us MacMillan’s Seven Deadly Sins, relying on the services of a stellar 20-strong cast that includes, besides the irrepressible Meow Meow (incidentally, a specialist in the Weimar period of the original work’s composition), alongside a number of big Royal Ballet names.
Laura Morera, a supremely intelligent interpreter, is the dancer Anna; Royal Ballet Principals Melissa Hamilton and Thiago Soares will also figure.
Wilton’s Music Hall is the perfect setting for this work; and although opinions on its worth diverge, revisiting Seven Deadly Sins in a new setting so many years later is bound to be interesting at the very least.
Age Guidance: 14 +
Gala Night 16 May (tickets £95)
|CANCELLED - MacMillan's Seven Deadly Sins
|Wilton's Music Hall, 1 Graces Alley, London, E1 8JB | MAP
|Aldgate East (underground)
08 May 19 – 18 May 19, 19:45 Sat mat 16:00 Dur TBC
|£12.50-£32.50 (concessions available)
|Click here to book via Wilton's Music Hall