Festive it’s not, but ENB’s triple bill is a real treat. Cause for rejoicing, says David Dougill for The Sunday Times
Very soon now, English National Ballet will be embarking on its usual Christmas marathon of Nutcrackers twice daily at the reopened London Coliseum; but anyone requiring an antidote — something rewardingly different — should book for the triple bill that will briefly interrupt it. This brings a new acquisition from Mark Morris (American, but almost everybody’s darling), Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, together with the return of two British works, Christopher Hampson’s Double Concerto and Kenneth MacMillan’s The Rite of Spring, a com- bination that went down well on tour last Tuesday in Manchester.
Made originally for American Ballet Theatre in 1988, Morris’s happy ballet is set to a sequence of brief, bright piano Etudes by Virgil Thompson, and echoes the wit of Thompson’s section titles (such as Oscillating Arm, or Pivoting on the Thumb). The cast of 12, dressed simply in white frocks and slacks, exude skippy, idyllic youth in sophisticated numbers that look deceptively artless. Agnes Oaks may be the head girl, with her tight blonde hair, but she lets it down, metaphorically, to ragtime; and Thomas Edur, newly tousle-topped, gets some surprise moves (such as being caught horizontally in Daniel Jones’s arms), rather different from his usual princely persona. click for more