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Rambert's 'God's Plenty, Sadler's Wells, London
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Nov 26, 1999 12:41 am ]
Post subject:  Rambert's 'God's Plenty, Sadler's Wells, London

This short review was in response to other comments on ballet.co about this new full-length work by Christopher Bruce, based loosely on the 'Canterbury Tales' by Chaucer. It has received mixed reviews as it has toured the Provinces and the ballet.co readers varied between 'I left at the interval.' to 'Good in parts.' But I had to post this here, as it has a seasonal aspect, in that the UK debate is whether 'God's Plenty' is a Golden Turkey. If there is any left on the 7th day, don't forget that you can still send food parcels to the UK.<P>*******************************************<P>Having seen 'God's Plenty' on Wednesday, my overall views are in line with those of Bruce and Lynette, rather than the 'God's Turkey' view. I do not see GP in the same light as Bejart's dire Mr. C, the first Act of Mr. WW. or Graeme Millar's 'Country Dancing' at the Place last year. For works like these, I find myself praying, for the performers sake as well as my own, that a large hole opens up and delivers them from their(and our)ordeal.<P>Like Bruce I enjoyed GP a lot at the start - the lighting and variable rectangle frame are fab; I enjoyed the Shaman dance with Paul Liburd and Hope Muir; the entrance of the hooded Monk is dramatic and the solos for Conor O'Brien with a sword, and Didi Veldman as Constance were interesting and beautifully performed. I love mediaeval music and the arrangements of the lovely old tunes worked well for the most part with occasional over-arrangement.<P>I didn't enjoy the actual tales as much. I think the Narrator does not help. Perhaps this is felt necessary for the schools performances, the importance of which was underlined by the comments of one of the Rambert administrators to a friend of mine. Having re-read Bruce's review from October, I note that he mentions old English text. The version at SW uses a modern translation, which has a lot of ropey doggerel and little elegance, so I'm not sure whether there have been changes there. The programme notes give a good summary of the plots of each of the stories, so I remain of the view that the Narrator is an unnecessary distraction.<P>I also agree with Lynette that the episodic nature of the Tales does not make for a harmonious dance work. Nevertheless, The Millers Tale had some spark and fine dancing from Matthew Hart and Brendan Faulls and amusing acting from a heavily disguised Conor O'Brien. <P>Overall the positive thoughts that I had after the first hour of largely non-narrative mood setting were eroded to some extent, but not completely, by the Tales themselves. Pure dance rules, OK.

Author:  Azlan [ Fri Nov 26, 1999 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rambert's 'God's Plenty, Sadler's Wells, London

Wow, sounds like a turkey alright. I've always liked Bruce's works. Could this be his worst -- or shall we say, least understood -- work?<P>...Azlan<P>P.S. - Sorry, Stuart, all turkey leftovers are being consumed today. I have in fact been invited to a friends house this afternoon to do just that.

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