Birmingham Royal Ballet: Prince of the Pagodas

BRB show without an exquisite set is like a cupcake without frosting; its perfectly nice, but you’d feel like you had been robbed. As different as The Prince of The Pagodas may be to the traditional BRB we all know and love in many ways, the set is one very pretty exception. Rae Smith’s design brings this relatively unknown story into the magical realms of ballet royalty. There’s something intrinsically dreamlike about the way the set and costume enhance the dancers’ movement that ignites a childish glee that will leave you mesmerised.

Despite its somewhat tentative opening, once the ball gets rolling, BRB are on top form with their commanding characterisation and surprising plot twists. Act Two will have you both laughing and crying (at the sheer inimitable grace of the dancers) with choreography highlight by what can only be described as ballet’s answer to twerking (just look for the octopus).

If you think of BRB as a boring or traditional ballet company, think again, because Prince of the Pagodas reshapes their flawless technique and synchronisation (a true skill with such challenging accompaniment) into a deeply atmospheric piece of dance, more than worthy of the company’s prestige.

Prince of the Pagodas is at The Lowry until 2nd February, followed by a UK tour until 29th March 2014

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