Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: ALCHEMY - Cape Town City Ballet Astounds with Energetic Triple Bill

Pieces from George Balanchine, Jiří Kylián and Robert North bring strength and style to the Artscape stage

Review: ALCHEMY - Cape Town City Ballet Astounds with Energetic Triple Bill
Kyle Baird, Tamlyn Higgins and Chanté Daniels in Concerto Barocco
Concerto Barocco choreography by George Balanchine
Performed by permission of the ©The George Balanchine Trust

Cape Town City Ballet has entered the summer season with a vibrant trio of performances in ALCHEMY - THREE DANCES. Honouring three of the world's most celebrated male choreographers from the 20th century, ALCHEMY stands as a programme dominated by accomplishments of athleticism.

ALCHEMY's first work is George Balanchine's dynamic and iconic Concerto Barocco. As the starting piece, the plotless Concerto Barocco is high energy but also elegant. I was skeptical when reading that Concerto Barocco was an invitation to "see the music", but the meaning of this is soon realized. Set to Bach's Concerto for Two Violins, the corps de ballet was particularly unified throughout this performance and provided a graceful support for First and Second Violin. First Violin Tamlyn Higgins appears light and moves seamlessly onstage, making her movements fluid. Having last seen Second Violin Leané Theunissen in the title role in CARMEN last month, she brings a finesse with her to this piece that follows her throughout her dancing. Overall, Concerto Barocco was a well-chosen and masterful beginning to the ALCHEMY programme.

Review: ALCHEMY - Cape Town City Ballet Astounds with Energetic Triple Bill
Olivia Parfitt in Falling Angels

The second piece, Falling Angels, was nothing like I had seen before from CTCB. The fast-paced, eight women work from Jiří Kylián is a feat of concentration, synchronization, and athleticism. The opening night cast of Falling Angels worked effortlessly together as they melted as a unit; even when the solo pieces Kylián has choreographed allowed individual dancers to stand out. There is furthermore something to be said of répétiteur Elke Schepers' work with the ballet as she has brought out an untouchable strength in the cast while still keeping stylistic integrity. The dancers onstage almost appear intimidating and enchanting at the same time.

The lighting design is also wonderful in this work. Conceptualized by Kylián and realized by Joost Biegelaar, lighting is used to dissect the stage, and dancers use their spaces in controlled co-ordination with the lighting. It brings out a great patriotism to know that this performance by CTCB is the first time a Kylián work has been staged by a South African company, as it really was expertly done.

Review: ALCHEMY - Cape Town City Ballet Astounds with Energetic Triple Bill
Bhungane Mehlomakhulu in Troy Game

The third and final piece of ALCHEMY is Robert North's Troy Game. A tangible change of ambience from the women's Falling Angels, Troy Game had a delightfully light-hearted feel to it while remaining equally engaging. Described by the New York Times as an "innovative blend of acting and movement", this playful piece is scored by a samba-esque catchy drum beat and allows dancers the opportunity to show off prowess and personality - which all eight male dancers were in abundance of at opening night. Répétiteur for this work, Julian Moss, reaches incredible (literal) heights with the cast, and Troy Game stands on its own as a memorable burst of energy from the male company of CTCB.

There is so much that can be said of the effort that has gone into ALCHEMY. This production was nothing short of astounding. With live performance and theatre making a well-earned return to our stages, ALCHEMY is definitely a production from 2021 not to be missed.

Photo credit: Joan Ward


ALCHEMY - THREE DANCES will be presented until 13 November. Performances are on 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 November at 19h30, with a matinee on Saturday 13 November at 15h00.
Tickets cost from R195 - R350. Bookings can be made at Artscape Dial-a-seat 021 421 7695 or through Computicket. Please note: The event complies with all COVID-19 regulations including social distancing and patrons must wear masks for entry.


BroadwayWorld Logo Vote Now for the 2022 BroadwayWorld South Africa Awards
Vote Nowvoting ends in



BUDDY The Buddy Holly Story Comes to South Africa in 2023 Photo
Pieter Toerien presents a brand-new, full-scale stage production of the HIT rock 'n roll jukebox musical, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, LIVE onstage at the Artscape Opera House, from 28 March to 16 April, and The Teatro at Montecasino from 21 April to 28 May.

Review: AUNTY MERLE: THINGS GET REAL at the Baxter Theatre Centre Is Destined to be Anothe Photo
My family and I have been avid fans of the AUNTY MERLE musicals since the first of the three productions graced the Baxter stage in 2017. When AUNTY MERLE: IT’S A GIRL came out in 2019, my brother and I adored it so much that we saw it twice. So, when I heard that there was a third instalment in this musical series, I just about danced my way to

Voting Now Open For The 2022 BroadwayWorld South Africa Awards Photo
Voting is now open for the 2022 BroadwayWorld South Africa Awards! Nominations were reader-submitted and now our readers get to vote for their favorites.

Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a festive must-see at Theatre On The Bay Photo
This beautiful adaptation by the team from VR Theatrical is pretty much just what the doctor ordered for the festive season. It combines song, animation, puppetry, voice overs, beautiful acting and a healthy dose of humour to warm the heart.


From This Author - Lindsay Kruger

Lindsay is a born and bred South African who lives in Cape Town after studying English, Media and Art, and Teaching at Stellenbosch University. She fell in love with musical theatre when she first ... (read more about this author)


BWW Review: Taking a Twist on Classic Tales in Delightful New Children's ShowBWW Review: Taking a Twist on Classic Tales in Delightful New Children's Show
December 13, 2021

TALES OF A BIG BAD WOLF opened this past weekend at Kalk Bay Theatre to much enjoyment from young and old alike.  With a cast ranging in characters from Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Prince Charming and more, this brand new children's theatre show from Sophab Productions makes for the perfect theatre outing this holiday season.

BWW Review: CINDERELLA at Masque Theatre an Unexpected Toe-Tapping DelightBWW Review: CINDERELLA at Masque Theatre an Unexpected Toe-Tapping Delight
December 10, 2021

CINDERELLA opened this past week at the Masque Theatre. A lighthearted, modernized take on a well-known fairytale, this production from the Masque Theatre and Constantiaberg Theatre Players can be described as nothing short of whimsical.

BWW Review: ALL TOGETHER NOW! Shines Bright Spotlight on Local TalentBWW Review: ALL TOGETHER NOW! Shines Bright Spotlight on Local Talent
November 16, 2021

LAMTA'S year-end production, ALL TOGETHER NOW!, opened over the weekend to standing ovations. In collaboration with Music Theatre International and Pieter Toerien productions, ALL TOGETHER NOW! was a fantastic celebration of well-known musical theatre numbers that combined the best of established and up-and-coming local talent.

BWW Review: ALCHEMY - Cape Town City Ballet Astounds with Energetic Triple BillBWW Review: ALCHEMY - Cape Town City Ballet Astounds with Energetic Triple Bill
November 8, 2021

Cape Town City Ballet has entered its Spring season with a vibrant trio of performances in ALCHEMY - THREE DANCES. Honouring three of the world's most celebrate male choreographers from the 20th century, ALCHEMY stands as a programme dominated by accomplishments of athleticism.

BWW Interview: Entertainment Marketing Powerhouse Noeleen Bruton on Opening New AgencyBWW Interview: Entertainment Marketing Powerhouse Noeleen Bruton on Opening New Agency
September 15, 2021

From THE LION KING to The Parlotones, Noeleen Bruton has had a wealth of experience in entertainment marketing and is now co-owner of new Cape Town based marketing and digital agency, Marketing Grit. Ready to take new strides on a well-walked path, Noeleen chats with BroadwayWorld.