Carlos Acosta does not believe in a summer break. Its his 40th birthday and to mark the occasion he has hired his gifted colleagues from the Royal ballet to present classical show pieces at the coliseum. Its also in one sense Acosta’s homage to his favourite choreographers. And with five of the thirteen selections being Kenneth Macmillan’s choreographies Acosta’s key inspiration is very clear.
The evening opens with a a very understated Winter Dreams based on a Chekhov story. Carlos Acosta dances with Marianela Nunez evoking a subdued and ultimately tragic romance.
Melissa Hamilton is beautifully serene in Fokine’s dying swan. Her grace and elegance evokes both the beauty and the pathos of the dying swan
However the evening really comes to life with Manon. The electric Leanne Benjamin who unbelievably is 49 years old, sets the stage on fire with her enthusiasm as the star crossed lover of French nobleman Des Grieux.
Scheherazade remained a huge disappointment. With its garish outfits and desperate moves it was somehow out of place in the evening’s selection
The second half opens with a brooding Mayerling. Gloomy with a foreboding sense of impending tragedy its again a class act from Acosta and Leanne Benjamin.
Tryst with Eric Underwood and Melissa Hamilton is exquisite. Its almost deliciously slow and finely balanced perfectly reflecting the music by James Macmillan
For me the high points of the evening is Requiem and Memoria. Two very unlike works from Acosta. His take on Faure’s Requiem is melancholic and soulful and touches the heart. Memoria like the electronic music by murcof is abstract and post modern.
Overall it was a satisfying evening ending with a long standing ovation by a besotted audience