REVIEW: The Rite of Spring & Petrushka

Dance Ambassador Chantelle Farrell review Fabulous Beast’s double bill of Stravinsky ahead of the performance at The Lowry

Despite having The Rite Of Spring produced into delicate ballet scores multiple times before, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre’s production completely transforms the piece into an original and edgy yet compelling show.


Michael Keegan-Dolan, director and choreographer, has no boundaries as to what is placed on the stage. As though plucked straight from a wacky dream, The Rite Of Spring, developed in 2009, tells the story sacrifice, dominance and worship, all with a twisted fairytale element. Olivier and Tony Award Winning Designer Rae Smith, who’s recent theatre work includes: War Horse, The Viel, Ave Maria  Oliver Twist, and  The Prince of the Pagodas, also helps to deliver the peculiar fantasy like setting to the otherwise bland creation.

In contrast to the dark elements, the  purity of the snow seen throughout almost acts as a calming effect, that is until Bernadette Iglich strides out of the shadows and casts her spell amongst the men. It is here, that the shockingly blatant scenes are unveiled, proving there is no limit to Keegan-Dolan’s creativeness.

Petruska, the second bill, tells the story of freedom. Beginning in light, and therefore approached with more delicate touches, along with the simplicity of the backdrop, lighting and costumes, it is a complete dramatic turn around from the first act and perhaps slightly disappointing as it lacks the same burst of personality.

The two halves of the double bill, are transformed into something far more powerful by Stravinsky’s epic score. Consisting more of theatre movement than fluid dance, the first act offers more of an interesting dramatic showdown, whilst the second act is much more of a stylised choreography that abruptly ends with a mystery.

It’s unique, it’s crazy and it’s fantastic. Without a doubt, it is guaranteed to leave the show with the audience lingering over it for some time.

Fabulous Beast perform at The Lowry on Tue 22 and Wed 23 April


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