BWW Reviews: LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO, Birmingham Hippodrome, February 1 2013

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, or the 'Trocks', have just started their 2013 UK tour. Back by popular demand, this ballet company provides an alternate view of classical ballet and features an entire company of men performing roles traditionally danced by women. Their comic approach to the art form has meant critical acclaim all over the world. The Trocks were formed thirty five years ago and judging from tonight's performance, their appeal has no sign of fading.

I had the pleasure of seeing the Trocks on their last UK tour and was interested to see whether their niche was still fresh and original. Boasting an almost new programme, I was pleased to find out that their unique style is still as side-splittingly hilarious as it always has been. The comedy element is their strongest feat. It is definitely a show that it is worth paying slightly more money for and being closer to the stage as their facial expressions need to be seen!

The technical ability of the men in the company is astounding. Dancing en pointe is difficult for most women, let alone men, who are not generally required to do so. But why shouldn't men break the stereotype? They are a breath of fresh air and admittedly the vast majority of the performers look like beautiful women! You would not question it.

Their current programme consists of excerpts from Les Sylphides, BLACK SWAN Pas De Deux, La Vivandiere Pas De Six, Dying Swan and Walpurghis Night. The Dying Swan was clearly a popular choice from the last tour as they have chosen to perform it again; equally as funny second time round. A personal favourite has to be the BLACK SWAN section; Chase Johnsey as his alter ego Yakatarina Verbosovich performing Odile was absolutely stunning.

Considering the Trocks have such an incredible brand behind them, the show looked very low budget. Not that the production looked cheap at all but it does not require much as the dancers work speaks for itself. There are three separate backdrops and a few props but that aside, it was very minimal.

The only disappointing aspect of the production was the quality of sound. Whether it was supposed to sound tinny to add to the comedy, I'm not sure but it is begging for a fuller sounding pre-record or a small orchestra playing live. This aside, Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo needs to be seen to be believed and whether you are a ballet enthusiastic or someone who hasn't seen a ballet before, there is something for everyone.

Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo is touring the UK until the end of the month.

Photo: Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo

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From This Author Jenny Antill