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  • Your Reaction: What did you think of Elizabeth at the Barbican?

Your Reaction: What did you think of Elizabeth at the Barbican?

Zenaida Yanowsky performs the role of the queen in this elegant work of dance theatre from The Royal Ballet at the Barbican.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

18 May 2018 at 9.51am | 2 Comments

Press reviews:

Arts Desk ★★★★
Financial Times ★★★★
Times ★★★★
Independent ★★★
The Stage ★★

What did you think of Elizabeth?
Add your thoughts in the comments below.

Elizabeth runs until 19 May at the Barbican. Tickets are available from the Barbican website. 

The production is staged with generous philanthropic support from The JP Jacobs Charitable Trust.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

18 May 2018 at 9.51am

This article has been categorised Dance and tagged Barbican, Elizabeth, Social Media, your reaction

This article has 2 comments

  1. ML responded on 19 May 2018 at 6:35pm Reply

    I think Zenaida was magnificent and moving every time she came on. However, the other performers - including the brilliant Raphael Wallfisch on cello, film favourite Samantha Bond as main narrator and some female non-dancing roles and Yury Yanowsky in the men's roles - had to work hard to make their limited parts interesting.

    It was a lot to test the patience of audiences to sit through 1h 30mins straight of a dance-talk-sing drama which had no 'high points' eg a grand pas de deux, an aria or a showstopping solo, or a good monologue (eg in the style of Shakespeare's "To Be or Not to Be" or "Now is the winter of our discontent") but was just narrative (often interrupted and truncated, so the flow of a story or incident being presented was often disrupted) going on for 90 minutes non-stop. The sold out auditorium was hot and stuffy, and without the high points, not a very fun experience - if it wasn't for Zen (the main reason I had travelled through 2 counties to be there that night), Yury and Raphael, who all performed brilliantly, I wouldn't have bothered.

    It's hard to know if it was more enjoyable for those who knew nothing or very little of the history of Elizabeth I (only a small minority of the audience around me the night I went) or those who knew a lot about Elizabeth I's personal history and the events/history of the Tudor era (me- it didn't help). I had previously seen this on tv with Carlos Acosta dancing the men's roles and I had hoped it would be more powerful live - it is, but only for the first 15 minutes. My overall experience watching it live worked out the same as on tv: the power of seeing the performers live was then erased by the discomfort of not being able to escape for some ventilation and to stretch one's legs after 60 minutes (at least with tv, you can walk around or put the show on pause to get a break).

    Others have commented that the limited scope of the material (mainly just covering Elizabeth's relationships, and her feelings at coronation) or the reduced impact of moving it from the Linbury or Royal Naval College hall to a theatre contributed to an unsatisfactory experience, but for me the storyline and space weren't the problem (even just covering one relationship would have been fine). Had this been at Covent Garden (which has presented works with smaller casts before and the shows are all miked nowadays, so projection isn't a problem) with another short ballet on the programme and an interval in the middle of Elizabeth, I'd be more happy to see it several times. I wouldn't mind seeing it at the Barbican Theatre again as long as there is an interval, and a second short work accompanying it.

  2. Kim Hatfield responded on 20 May 2018 at 10:19pm Reply

    Stunning performance by Zenaida. Shocked at her announcement but so glad I was there for her last performance. I burst into tears!

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