When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
English National Ballet and Flawless
I had my doubts about this; the publicity photos of totties in tutus posing with the macho Flawless boys not only accentuated the separation of the two styles, but created street-boy versus posh girl feeling. The corny story of how they join up to foil a mad professor who is going to alter time sounded ludicrous. But, to my great surprise, the whole thing works, mainly because those photos are misleading, and the only tutus appear when six girls seem to be butterflies, as the team find their way through the maze that leads to the professor’s mansion.
The cast are at school, and straightaway their uniform of blue blazers unifies them into a coherent ensemble. The opening scene, in which Flawless do all their tricks while the ballet girls whirl through their ranks and pick partners, is probably the best number in the show. Later there are times when the girls do steps that blend with street dance, and a short, funny episode, where Flawless are at a ballet barre, and attempt the odd tendu to the Dance of the Little Swans.
A romance develops between Alison McWhinnev and Leroy Dias dos Santos in which their bodies and also their styles gradually blend, with dos Santos partnering very well in a tender duet. McWhinney is the only soloist among the girls, while Flawless are allowed, time and again, to show us all their impressive repertoire. The result is that this is really Flawless’s show; they have the best moments and steal the limelight as they are great showmen.
It was unfair, though, that, while the boys were each allowed a solo curtain call, Alison McWhinney, who danced and acted beautifully throughout, was reduced to lining up with the rest of the girls. But there’s no doubt that this mixture of the two groups produces a hugely enjoyable performance.
Flawless and English National Ballet are at the Aylesbury Waterside on June 30 and July 1.