Set your brain to concentrate – there’s a lot to take in from the word go in English National Ballet’s Manon. She claps eyes on the love of her life (well, one of them) Des Grieux at the local tavern, so the opening treats us to a full ensemble, while a handy moving Toile de Jouy-style backdrop reveals stagecoaches depositing even more characters on stage. With an enchanting first dance and some stellar harp-plucking and kettle-drumming courtesy the English National Ballet Philharmonic, the result is romantic, dramatic and rather handsome. There are some lovely powder-hued tutus and fancy frock coats, and some dizzying spinning and effortless-looking lifting – Kenneth MacMillan’s clever choreography is also purposefully unsynchronised in parts, creating a nice contrast to our Strictly-sanitised norm. There’s a wonderful moment when everyone but the leads are frozen as in a still-life tableau, and the transition from light to dark in the final act is also effective. On point indeed.
Wed 17 – Sat 20 Oct, Opera House, 3 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HP, Tel: 0844 871 3018, Wed–Sat 7.30pm, Thu 2pm, Sat 2.30pm, £13.90–50.90, atgtickets.com
Published on: Fri 19 Oct 2018