Review: Two World Premieres and Dave Brubeck for City’s Ballet


Birmingham Royal Ballet

Three Short Works

Crescent Theatre


Richard Lutz received a pleasant surprise when he sat down for a night of dance.

I was psyched up for the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production that uses Dave Brubeck’s classic jazz number Take Five. I we always felt it was meant for dance.

But what a great surprise when the opening piece in the evening, called 9-5, erupted. It is a nightmarish, funny look at office life choreographed by Kit Holder and portrayed that crazed first day at work that can scare the living daylights out of every working man woman and child. Unfamiliar people, unfamiliar equipment (including a demented printer that always jams) and unfamiliar surroundings create a world that is not a happy place to be.

This world premiere mixes drum and bass music from MistaBishi along with Elizabethan work by William Byrd so it changes constantly. It is a great frenzied piece and that printer jam never does get fixed.

The Brubeck piece, Take Five,  first produced five years ago, was worth the wait and anticipation. Brubeck must have been seeing movement as he composed the music fifty odd years ago. The musicians played it just as we all remember it- almost note for note. Simple costumes are of the Mad Men era when Brubeck first sat down at his piano. It was fluid stuff and I could have watched another 40 minutes.

Separating the two is another world premiere. Lyric Pieces has been commissioned especially for the Birmingham’s International Dance Festival which runs most of this month. Music by Norwegian Edvard Grieg, created by Twyla Tharp colleague Jessica Lang, it is a cool elegant study in movement, nicely decorated by fans of black paper that fold and unfold and  create evolving and evaporating walls.

+Matinee and tonight at The Crescent Theatre. The International Dance Festival continues around Birmingham until 19th May.