Feature: Les Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo 01

Friday 7 April 2006

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo Les Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo
Peacock Theatre, 25 Sept-13 Oct 2001

The audience loved it. They laughed, cheered and devoured every exaggerated gesture, every flick of the head, every pouting mouth, every clumsy, heavy -footed leap or run.

But how funny are ‘The Trocks’ after nearly thirty years of camping their way through the classical ballet repertoire? This strong troupe of fourteen male dancers, all hair and muscle, elaborately costumed in tutus, head-dresses and pointe shoes, are certainly sure of their effects. The diversity of the company alone, some tall and spindly, others petite and cuddly, is without a doubt a recipe for great comedy.
In the first few moments of the Trocks’ opening offering, the supposedly eerie second act of ‘Giselle’, I found myself easily drawn to the absurdity of it all but the parody wore thin at the end. By the second piece (‘Mystery Pas de Deux’) I knew what I was in for. The trouble is, the formula of their mockery — opposing heavenly grace with obviously very earthly bodies — never varies except for moments when they show unquestionable strength in their technical capabilities.
Recently ‘The Trocks’ have attempted a parody of contemporary choreographers, but their Pina Bausch take-off, to Carlos Gardel’s tango music, lacked the outrageous theatricality of its original. However, the fans loved it.
Luciana Brett

Dragged ballet acts
Watching the dexterous pirouettes of the Trocks, I came up with my own form of physical pain: maintaining a forced smile for more than two hours (in the absence of a joke) was a contortion I gave up after an hour of trying to tune in to the genial mood in the audience.

In their history, the all-male New York troupe has merged the gracious with the absurd in staged adaptations of classical highlights. But following the same cross-dressing recipe since the Seventies has now become a drag with “Giselle” and “Don Quixote” better fitting a 19th-century burlesque.

The excellent technique barely keeps up the interest for such a long show despite a “refreshing” attempt with a spoof of Pina Bausch. The redundant mockery of Wuppertal’s world of isolation and search for intimacy had a lack of essence typical to the rest of the show. In all its flamboyance, “swan” steps and disco moves the performance did little to relieve my aching jaw muscles.
Evan Theods

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