Peacock Theatre, London
September 12, 2018
The Trocks are back in London, complete with a kick line and more gimmicks than you can shake your novelty fan at. Full of the usual classics and some new repertoire too, The Trocks’ latest escapades are pure crowd pleasers and show the company – complete with all its alter egos – at its best.
Their first London programme opens with Act II from Swan Lake, arguably the jewel in the Trocks’ crown. It easily drew the most laughs from the audience despite the fact it is a regular in the company’s repertoire. Sometimes, the old ones are indeed the best. The boys’ take on the classic ballet is the perfect vehicle for the numerous company personas to expose themselves in dance full of humour and with the occasional nod to the audience. Carlos Hopuy was the star here as Alla Snizova, she of the highly enviable feet and legs which extend as far as they turn out.
Often it is the subtleties of The Trocks’ humour that steals the hearts of the audience. Guzella Verbitskaya (Jack Furlong, Jr) falling off pointe or even all the way to the floor is of course a signature move, but nothing beats the expectant, and then frustrated, so pained walks across the stage of Vladirmir Legupski (Duane Gosa), waiting for his moment to begin, which never comes. Where the humour is more blatant, the line does sometimes blur between simply not employing stretched legs and feet, and deliberately making a hash of the things, as in the pas de quatre. Identifying which is which is, at times, a little challenging when the choreography is so intricate and the score so fast.
It was the turn of little and large, Nina Enimenimynimova (Long Zou) and Boris Dumbkopf (Takaomi Yoshino) respectively, in the Harlequinade pas de deux, a welcome addition to the classics of The Trocks’ repertoire. The humour here was deliciously subtle; a raised eyebrow here, a hand up in a ‘stop’ there. This was all hugely complemented by the considerable balletic skills of Zou and Yoshino who turned and leapt around the stage, with little fault.
It is clear the tweaking of classics like Swan Lake for comedic gain show the company off the best. It probably also helps that the audience know what the ‘real thing’ should look like. Even so, the La Trovatiara pas de cinq felt less rehearsed and less comfortable for the dancers, and as a result felt a little drawn out. Despite all the skill and naughtiness on show, it just didn’t hold the same clout.
In true Trocks fashion, The Dying Swan saw Gosa excel as Helen Highwaters in a supercloud of feathers, delivering a literal interpretation of the end of the swan’s life. The classic approach may paint a more romantic version, but that of The Trocks is much more entertaining.
Now 44 years old, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo was founded by a group of ballet enthusiasts to present a playful parody and entertaining view of traditional, classical ballet. They continue to more than exceed expectations.
This programme by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo continues at the Peacock Theatre to September 16, with Programme B (including Les Sylphides, Napoli pas de six and wedding scenes from Raymonda) running from September 18-22. Visit www.sadlerswells.com for details.