Giselle – Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Choreography: Ludovic Ondivela

Design: Maree Kearns

Music: Adolphe Adam

Reviewer: Clara Mallon

With a successful history of traditional classics, Giselle is an unsurprising venture for Ballet Ireland. Regarded as one of the greatest romantic ballets, the story of love and betrayal has stood the test of time and remains popular among contemporary audiences.

Ludovic Ondiviela’s promise of approaching this classic tale through a contemporary lens gives this particular production an air of excitement and anticipation. The question remains, can this old narrative tell us something new?

The Project Arts Centre’s casual and intimate atmosphere sets a tone unlike the grandeur and spectacle usually associated with classical ballet. The stage set is sparse, containing only two large silver blocks and smoke effect.

The show begins and the energetic cast take the audience on a whirlwind journey of unrequited love, loss, betrayal and death. Although Giselle (Ryoko Yagyu) ultimately emerges the tragic victim, the tale of betrayal is cleverly told from multiple perspectives. Mark Samara gives an emotionally wrought performance as the heart broken Wilis, who loses out on love and literally follows Giselle beyond death; “Where she went, he follows”. The combination of choreography, visuals and reimagined musical score proves thoroughly engaging and aids in evoking a range of emotions throughout.

Maree Kearns’ stunning set design flawlessly transports the audience from one location to the next. From an interrogation room in a police station to an otherworldly place beyond death this atmospheric performance successfully creates worlds that lurk between dreams, memories and reality.

Ondiviela succeeds in breathing new life into this traditional classic, proving the tale of Giselle still has much to say.

Runs until 29 April 2017 | Image: Declan English

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The Ireland team is currently under the editorship of Laura Marriott. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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