THE ROYAL BALLET AT THE LONDON COLISEUMCategory: Theatre
One of the arguments that has been put forward against the idea that the Royal Ballet ought to have theatre of its own where it could dance every night has been that it would, lose the benefit of sharing the Covent Garden Orchestra. The sort of playing we get from that sometimes illustrious orchestra on many ballet nights weakens that argument and the final nail should have been hammered into its coffin by the orchestral standards achieved during the month (8 May to 2 June) spent by the company at the Coliseum.
The orchestra there was simply the regular touring one with some additional players, and I think, it would be generally agreed that they played really well. [...]
About the benefits of the excellent stage, much has been said and written already. The shape of the auditorium and its relation ship to the stage has the effect of throwing the action right forward with a strong immediacy. When the Royal Ballet played at Drury Lane a few years back, where there is a similar effect, some people vehemently objected, saying that they liked to see ballet at a remove, in a kind of misty distance. This time the former objectors seemed to have been converted. [...]
Most of the ballets and most of the casts during the month were familiar because they had been deliberately chosen to draw the crowds needed to justify the experiment of using a different theatre and dancing every night. However, there were a few new castings which call for special comment. In Dances at a Gathering on the first night we were able to welcome back Monica Mason after her long absence caused by an injury the previous summer. With David Ash- mole off sick, Julian Hosking came into the cast of this ballet, although he did little more than make up the numbers, with Wayne Eagling actually taking over Ashmole’s parts in the big waltz and the scherzo, and doing them well.
(Dance and Dancers, September, 1973)