Reviewed by Paula Citron
Ireland’s Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre’s Giselle may not have a tutu, but it does have incest and rape. The most famous of French Romantic ballets has certainly been given a radical rethink.
To call director/choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan’s imagination lurid is an understatement. He has set the story in the small Irish town of Ballyfeeny where the weird is normal.
Keegan-Dolan’s take is gender-bending and top-heavy with men. There are only two women in the cast of eleven. He does, however, cleverly mirror the story of the original 1841 ballet.
This modern-day Giselle is told through a mix of actual dances and choreographed scenes. The Wilis, in particular, are riveting, performing aerial choreography on ropes.
Keegan-Dolan’s symbolism, however, does seem over the top.
This Giselle is fascinating to watch, and a strong production in terms of theatrical values. Oddly, it left me emotionally cold. Perhaps streets that are so mean pass the point of sentiment.
Giselle continues at the Fleck Dance Theatre until May 8.
Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre
Harbourfront World Stage
Fleck Dance Theatre, May 4 to 8, 2010