Reviews – Ramayana (Lyric Hammersmith) and American Ballet Theater mixed rep (La Bayadere, Drink to Me Only, Fancy Free – Sadler’s Wells)

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Last night we went to see The Ramayana at the Hammersmith Lyric. J thought it was much more “on” as a high-fairy-tale show than His Dark Materials and hit the notes right. I liked its imaginative set and use of theatrical devices to convey literal impossibilities (i.e. someone jumping across an ocean). It seemed a bit dry, though; the costumes seemed a bit on the cheap or something. And, to tell the truth, in this age in which religious intolerance is running so high, I found the constant slamming of “them dirty godless (Buddhist) materialists down south” grating, and was pretty well mortified when Sita immolated herself at the end to prove to her heartless husband her love for him stayed true no matter what had happened to her body. Thinking of all the women burned on pyres in the practice of “suttee” just depressed me. That said, overall a very good show, and since first week’s tickets were £9, also a great deal if you like watching these kind of stylized stories on stage.

Tonight was what was supposed to be our Valentine’s day date, a trip to see American Ballet Theater at Sadler’s Wells. (I got the dates wrong so I wound up seeing two shows instead – naughty me, huh?) It was a three-part show, with La Bayadere (guy goes to the land of the shades to dance with his girlfriend – very 1870, pretty with white tutus), a Mark Morris piece (“Drink to me Only,” lighter with better movement) and Jerome Robbin’s classic Fancy Free, a typical end-the-show-hoot with boys in sailor suits flirting with saucy 40s girls, complete with high kicks and purse fights. We enjoyed the evening but someone’s still got some jet lag and, er, someone else can feel the long day at work and previous late night slowing her down.

(The Ramayana was seen February 14th, 2007 and the American Ballet was seen February 15th, 2007.)

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