Hamlet - National Ballet of Canada at Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - ****1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Choreographed by Kevin O'Day, based on William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Music by John King
Runs until June 10th 2012
Sleep No More - PunchDrunk at The McKittrick Hotel - New York City, NY - ****1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Based loosely on William Shakespeare's Macbeth
Amaluna - Cirque du Soleil's Le Grand Chapiteau at The Quays of the Old Port - Montreal, QC - ****1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Directed by Diane Paulus, Music by Guy Dubuc and Marc Lessard, Based loosely on William Shakespeare's The Tempest
Runs in Montreal until July 15th 2012, Opens in Quebec City on July 26th, Toronto on Sept. 6th, Vancouver on Nov. 23rd 2012, continues on to Seattle.
Jonathan Renna and McGee Maddox, as Polonius and Laertes, Ophelia's protective father and brother, respectively, are in spectacular form, especially in their dance with Ogden as the men try to hold Ophelia from flirting back at Hamlet. O'Day's choreography turns this dance of three into a fun, funny, but telling moment that involves Ophelia into Hamlet's plight.
Jiří Jelinek is in superb form as the evil Claudius (which he originated in Stuttgart), while Robert Stephen (who rotates in the role of Hamlet) and Christopher Stalzer are delightful as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Elena Lobsanova (who rotates in the role of Ophelia) is the vision of loveliness as one half of the actors Hamlet uses to reenact Claudius' betrayal, with up-and-comer Corps de Ballet member Dylan Tedaldi filling in the other half.
With the cast of Hamlet already being filled with the National Ballet's biggest Principal stars and First Soloists (including Stephanie Hutchison as Gertrude), it was exciting to see a lot of the exciting up-and-comers from the Corps filling roles right along side, and not missing a single dance beat. Along with Stalzer and Tedaldi, Brendan Saye (above with Côté) is wonderfully stoic and gentle as Hamlet's more rational friend Horatio, while Giorgio Galli has a wonderful presence as part of the ensemble, and takes on the role of Laertes on rotation. The male heavy play gives the men in the company lots of opportunity to shine and continues to prove why I had taken notice of all of them in previous shows.
Amaluna the newest Cirque Du Soleil show in the touring Grand Chapiteau has made its debut in Montreal, the first stop for every Big Blue and Yellow Tent show before it tours the world. While the last one I saw there, Totem, was still a bit of a mess (since Montreal in a sorts, acts as a preview stage for the rest of the tour), Amaluna starts off its run strong and cohesive and ready to go! The clowns could still use some work, being the least funny clowns in my Cirque memory (and I’ve seen Banana Shpeel, a whole Cirque show about clowns), and a part where a woman in a big white dress dancing begins to drag the first act, but all in all, this was one of the best Cirque shows I’ve seen, despite it having some of the least death-defying types of circus tricks.
As always with Cirque, the music, the set (by Scott Pask), the lighting (by Matthieu Larrivée), the costumes (by Mérédith Caron) are wonderful, and save for some moments in Act 1 and the clown antics, Paulus has created a beautiful ode to women through the art of the circus, and perfectly pairing Shakespeare's strange tale of The Tempest, with the strangeness of Cirque du Soleil's own unique style.
Shakespeare might be rolling in his grave, but I thank Kevin O'Day and The National Ballet, PunchDrunk and Cirque du Soleil for giving us beautiful and exciting works that should only mean to flatter Shakespeare.
Hamlet photos by Vincent von Tiedemann
Amaluna photos by Vincenzo D'Alto
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com