What’s it all about?
A biography of Rudolf Nureyev, the play begins in Paris in the 1990s, where Nureyev, sick with AIDS, reflects on his past, and in particular, his relationship with Prima Ballerina Margot Fonteyn. Past and present interact, and we follow his journey from rebellious Siberian schoolboy to international dancing sensation.
Who’s in it?
Benny Maslov, who has forged a career in innumerable ballets and dance productions, takes the role of Nureyev, boldly expressing his petulance and stubbornness, his insatiable passion for dance and his endless drive for perfection.
Jo Price cuts a striking figure as Fonteyn: dressed as a sylphide, forever perfect in Nureyev’s memory, she exudes poise and grace.
What should I look out for?
Unsurprisingly, the dance sequences form the core of this production. Maslov leaps about the stage with boundless energy and strength, paying beautiful homage to the iconic dancer.
Keep an eye out for Yiannis Katsaris’ minimalistic lighting design: the projection of light onto fine suspended chains creates a gilded cage in which Fonteyn sits, preserved in Nureyev’s imagination. Offstage light during the ballet sequences feels authentic and adds an immediacy, making the audience feel like they are right there, watching the development of a legend.
In a nutshell?
An insightful tribute to the life of Rudolf Nureyev
Will I like it?
Rudolf Nureyev had an extraordinary life, and as the play itself comments, his ‘feet wrote history’. He and Margot Fonteyn danced together 733 times over the course of 29 years, and they had a unique, intimate relationship on and off stage. Aletta Lawson’s play can only show us a fraction of these encounters and experiences, but they offer intriguing and engrossing insight into the life and mind of this unstoppable dance icon.
Dancing With The Devil runs until 29 June at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells. To book tickets, visit the official website.