La Fille mal gardée Review

Bristol Hippodrome – until 6th July

Review by Nicky Wyatt


Oh my word. My first visit to the ballet and I was absolutely mesmerised! Such beautiful dance with amazing story telling.

A story of young love played out with , fun, naughtiness and grace.

The opening music to this story sets the mood, sat just a few rows from the orchestra I initially thought it may be a bit overpowering but I need not have worried, under the watchful eye and superb conducting of Barry Wandsworth , it was a delight to listen too.

The story divided into three acts is about a young couple that catch each other’s eye and begin to fall in love. The path of true love often meets with a disapproving parent and this is true for this young couple also.

Lise ( Céline Ditton) sets about her morning chores in the hope that she will see her hearts want Colas (Tyrone Singleton). As they have missed each other she leaves him a ribbon tied in a lovers knot which he finds and attaches to his staff. Later that morning they manage to meet up in secret and perform the most amazing dance with the ribbon. It’s cheeky a little bit naughty but it is the dance of lovers, it ends with them having a made a cats cradle! So clever is the choreography of this show. Caught by her mother Simone (Rory Mackay) who gives Lise the job of churning butter, she of course gets some help from Colas. It’s not long before the village girls want Lise to come and play , chores abandoned she does just that. Again caught by her mother she is saved from being chastised any further when guests arrive.

Thomas (Valentin Olovyannikov) the vineyard owner wants Lise to marry his son Alain (James Barton). He tries to get her attention with his Hop,Skip,Jump way and although she thinks he is funny albeit clumsy she’s not interested her heart has already been captured.

It’s harvest time, all the workers stop for break and a dance ensues led by Colas it’s a fun dance. Alain and Lise dance together with respective parents watching on. She only has eyes for Colas and seeks his attention. Not to be beaten Alain decides to play the flute sadly he’s not very good and the others tease him. As he is swept away to avoid any more embarrassment the stage is left clear for Colas and Lise to dance. The dancing continues with all joining in, two spectacular routines are the Maypole and the Clog dance so fast and clever, again superb choreography! Dancing comes to an abrupt halt as a storm blows in the special effects here are amazing.

The final act sees Lise back indoors with mother who is awaiting the arrival of Alain with his father and the notaries to formalize the wedding. Simone leaves Lise alone but not trusting her, she locks her in alone or is she? The dancing and giving of scarves in this scene is just stunning. When everyone arrives at the house and Simone gives Alain the key to Lise bedroom door they all get a bit of a shock as she isn’t there alone.

Love wins through on the day and celebrations begin.

The facial expressions and movements between these dancers was truly wonderful too see. As I said at the beginning I was absolutely mesmerised from start to finish and left with the biggest smile.