You can’t have enough of the Trocks, so hot on the pointe heels of last week’s show, we returned on Saturday to see their second programme, much of which will form their touring show which lasts from 6th October till 11th November. Unusually for the great traditions of Russian ballet, there was only one chyange to the yadvyertised pryogryamme, with Miss Nadia Doumiafeyva performing the role of Mystery Woman drinking at a table in Don Quixote. As usual Miss Natasha Notgoodenoff was winging her way on a mission of mercy, this time to support the ailing ballerinas at Les Grands Ballets de Croydon; and all of the ballerinas were, once again, in a very good mood that afternoon.
We started off with Les Sylphides, with our prima ballerinas in fine form, strutting their wonderful stuff, occasionally kicking each other over, bumping into each other, running to get into position, and being breathtakingly graceful whilst dealing with their avoirdupois. They were also having to negotiate their way around Sergey Legupski (Giovanni Goffredo) who had clearly taken a mixture of co-codamol and Sovietski Champagnski and was more than a danger to shipping. It’s a very funny piece, but actually what really stood out for me was the extraordinary pointe work throughout – it’s flawless, elegant and amazingly powerful. That’s the Trocks in a nutshell: outrageously hilarious, rivetingly technically brilliant.
After the first interval comes Patterns in Space, and it’s the first time we’ve seen this piece since we first started coming to see the Trocks sometime back in the last century. In a fantastically woven mickey-take of Merce Cunningham, three splendidly earnest Trocks cavort, spin, exercise, leap and do everything else in between, in a totally random and meaningless dance sequence. Meanwhile, two on-stage po-faced musicians provide the backing accompaniment, by, inter alia, popping bubble wrap, rustling paper bags, and playing the National Anthem on the kazoo. Stupid and hilarious, you spend the entire time watching the antics of the demure Miss Lariska Dumbchenko (Raffaele Morra) and the wretched Mr Yuri Smirnov (Robert Carter) cack-handedly creating sounds out of nothing, whilst you totally ignore the brilliant dancing. One to file under The Most Wicked Parodies Ever.
Next comes another real favourite, Go For Barocco. To the urgent, driving rhythms of the Brandenburg Concertos, six stalwart Trocks in sensible black dresses bump and grind their way around the stage in an athletic and funny routine that really fits the music perfectly. At times the music gets so fast that all they can do to keep up is to power-walk across the stage, which always cracks me up. It shows off all their incredible dancing skills whilst constantly injecting it with off-the-wall movements, creating a really rewarding comic ballet.
As always at the Trocks, for a special treat, one of the ballerinas will graciously consent to execute the Dying Swan for us. This time it was the vivacious and outgoing Miss Maria Paranova (Carlos Renedo), who brought out all the frantic concerns and bodily dysfunctions of a watery fowl on her last legs. She milked it for all it was worth, if that’s not too much of a mixed metaphor for you. People who clearly hadn’t seen it before were in tears of laughter. Wonderful stuff.
The programme ends with the (relatively) grandly staged Don Quixote, which we have actually seen performed by the Moscow City Ballet and it’s a perfect piece for the Trocks to lampoon. The stage is filled with an assortment of odd-bods, all of whom display their little Trockisms from time to time, just in case you’d actually forgotten you weren’t at a proper Russian ballet. As the performance develops you end up completely entranced by the pas de deux of Kitri – Miss Yakatarina Verbosovich (Chase Johnsey) and Basil – Vyacheslav Legupski (Paolo Cervellera). Their solos are simply outstanding and left the Peacock theatre audience enraptured for more.
Perfect if you like ballet; perfect if you like to laugh; if you like to combine the two, they can’t be beaten. Their UK tour continues to Newcastle, Southampton, Canterbury, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Inverness, Bradford, Nottingham, Brighton, Salford and Birmingham. What are you waiting for!