REVIEW: World premiere of English National Ballet’s ‘Le Corsaire’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, 17th October 2013

 

Epic pirate ballet Le Corsaire marks Alina Cojocaru’s debut with English National Ballet, a blockbuster start to the autumn season and a chance for the men to show what they can do…  

 

Pirates, passion and pas de deux thrilled theatregoers at the world premiere of English National Ballet’s epic new production last night. Dazzling dancers from the touring ballet company raised the anchor and set sail on a swashbuckling adventure, with the rarely seen 19th Century classic Le Corsaire (The Pirate), at Milton Keynes Theatre.

A treasure trove of delights awaited audience members keenly anticipating the 7.30pm performance as this three-act ballet features a rich tapestry of plot twists and turns. Loosely based on the 1814 poem ‘The Corsair’ by Lord Byron, it is set in a world of sumptuous Turkish palaces and populated with pirates, exotic slave girls and wealthy male dignitaries. Dramatic rescues, abductions, mutiny, subterfuge, love and betrayal abound as the tale of a dashing pirate and his love affair with a beautiful harem girl unfolds.

Artistic Director Tamara Rojo promised to rejuvenate English National Ballet’s repertoire when she took on the top position last year and this re-imagining of Le Corsaire illustrates her dedication to bringing more varied ballets to the masses.

English National Ballet is the first UK company to stage the complete work (others have extracted famous segments, performing them independently). Consequently, Milton Keynes has played a part in making ballet history with the opening of this spectacular new masterpiece. And, as if this was not excitement enough, last night also marked glittering ex-Royal Ballet star Alina Cojocaru’s debut with English National Ballet.

 

Alina Cojocaru dancing in English National Ballet's 'Le Corsaire'

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REVIEW: ‘Top Hat’ World Premiere – Milton Keynes Theatre, August 2011

 

TOP HAT IS TOP ENTERTAINMENT

 

World stage premieres are normally the preserve of the West End but Milton Keynes Theatre can boast that musical extravaganza Top Hat is making its global debut as a new stage show here in the new city this month.

Top Hat is a 1935 screwball comedy musical film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers which has been lovingly crafted for the stage, encompassing the original classic songs by Irving Berlin and a further ten from the Berlin back catalogue.

Holby City and Strictly Come Dancing star Tom Chambers (pictured, below, with me) and experienced musical theatre performer Summer Strallen take the title roles of Jerry Travers and Dale Tremont – the leads played by Astaire and Rogers in the movie.

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Top Hat will sweep you off your feet: Leading man Tom Chambers dancing with Georgina Butler at the press launch for Top Hat at Milton Keynes Theatre

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