Ballet Black Review

York Theatre Royal – 27th November 2018.

Reviewed by Michelle Richardson


The Ballet Black company was started 17 years ago in order to give opportunities to black and Asian dancers. On a very very wet Tuesday evening I got to see the seven members of their company perform two vastly different pieces of work at York Theatre Royal, The Suit and A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The Suit, directed and choreographed by Cathy Marston, finds a husband, Philemon, discovering his wife, Matilda, is having an affair after finding her in bed with another man. The lover flees, but leaves his suit behind. The suit then manifests itself into becoming the third person in their marriage, as the husband becomes more and more bitter and resentful. Needless to say, things do not end well. Sayaka Ichikawa was engaging as Matilda, portraying such sensual intimacy with both her husband and lover, and then shock and panic as her secret is discovered.

What followed after the interval was a lot more light hearted, Arthur Pita’s A Dream Within a Midsummers Night’s Dream. I must admit that I have now seen a few takes on that Shakespeare play and they are a bit of a favourite for me. I love the total craziness and this was no exception, I’m relieved to say.

As the curtain rises the ballet opens as a traditional ballet scene, tutus and all, then Puck makes an appearance and with a sprinkle of fairy dust, madness ensues. Boundaries are pushed as Puck concocts differing liaisons, straight, gay and lesbian, Oberon going off with Lysander and Helena with Hermia, not forgetting Titania and Bottom. Helena is seen snorting a line of fairy dust, oh, and I must mention Salvador Dali, he makes an unexpected appearance. Isabela Coracy as Puck was outstanding. She looked like a very colourful, leprechaun boy scout. This is a bold, chaotic, puckishly take on Shakespeare. I was certainly seduced by it, loved it. Obviously this was my favourite piece, but that is a matter of opinion, would be boring if we all liked the same things.

Two completely different performances by the seven dancers, was a treat to watch, with accomplished dance pieces and beautiful movement.