Review: The London Ballet Company - Eve - St James Theatre Studio

Performance: 24 - 28 February 2015
Reviewed by Claire Cohen - Wednesday 25 February 2015

London Ballet Company 'Eve' Photo: Cocography

Performance reviewed: 23 February

If you fancy a doing something different at lunchtime, how about watching a 45-minute feast of ballet treats right in the middle of Victoria? You can even bring your own sandwiches. You won’t need coffee, because the performance is really cabaret with a deep ballet froth. Like a good cappuccino, tasty and tangy,which perks you up – a bargain, with tickets from £8.

Safely tucked away in the intimate basement studio of St James’s Theatre, the London Ballet Company are performing Eve, a humorous celebration of all things womanly from childhood to motherhood.

On the menu are eleven short dances with themes such as ‘When I was a Little Girl’ ‘Dressing Up’ ‘Here Comes the Bride’ ‘To the Office’ and ‘A Little Fling’. No tutus or pointe shoes, but the five women taking part have clearly been well-trained in ballet. Classical steps liberally lace the whole performance, and when they all briefly dance in unison the effect is reminiscent of a corps de ballet.

The dancers spend most of the time in individual movement flowing round each other – indeed, how they manage to perform balletic steps and poses on a tiny stage (about four metres wide by three deep) without bumping into each other is a testament to clever choreography.

Good mime skills, worthy of any ballet company, bring much humour to all the dances. Judging by its length, ‘The Prom’ is the centrepiece. The faces of four girls when they discover they’re all wearing the same dress to the ball are a picture. During the ensuing competition to outdo each other, they succeed in producing the most marvelous expressions, reminding you of the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella. Exaggerated bad behaviour, as they play tricks on each other while vying for public attention, produces both chuckles and even a little discomfort. Ouch! Don’t we women stick together better than that?

Frequent, colourful costume changes and a variety of ritzy backing songs including ‘But I am a Good Girl’ and ‘Peel Me a Grape’ add to the vamped up female vibe. Sophie Wright’s high leg lifts while swirling in a bright orange evening dress evoke a sultry siren. And yet there’s a soft innocent side too, especially a delightful child-like dance with teddy bears to Que Sera Sera, and a bride swaying pensively to a lullaby.

Eve succeeds in being entertaining while highlighting the multifaceted nature of womanhood. It won’t make you feel as satisfied as when consuming a full classical ballet, but it’s a joy to watch. Eve is, in short, a great ‘light bite’ in the middle of the day, and one that will have you smiling through the afternoon.

Photos: Cocography

Claire Cohen is a freelance dance writer. After attending ballet classes for adult beginners at English National Ballet she took part in their Dance is the Word workshop, fusing her writing skills with an enthusiasm for ballet and dance. Find her on Twitter @balletbichon

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