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Review: Starstruck offers a glimpse of Kelly's magic

By David Porter

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Sophie Martin and Javier Andreu in Starstruck
Sophie Martin and Javier Andreu in Starstruck

Scottish Ballet returned to the stage at Aberdeen's His Majesty's Theatre in an interpretation of Gene Kelly's Pas de Dieux entitled Starstruck.

One of the first choreographers to bring the ‘American style’ to Europe, the legendary Gene Kelly was invited to create an original work for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1960.

His jazzy, joyful Pas de Dieux was highly acclaimed at the time as ‘a breath of fresh air’ and has now been given a new set of wings in this production.

Starstruck is not only Gene Kelly’s love letter to ballet, but also a love letter to the man himself, from his wife Patricia Ward Kelly and Scottish Ballet’s artistic director Christopher Hampson who spent months piecing together archive footage and Kelly’s hand-written notes.

Hampson has added to both the movement and the music, adding a scene setting prologue to shape Kelly’s tale of lovers Aphrodite and Zeus, along with Chopin to complement the original Gershwin score.

Principals Andrew Peasgood and Constance Devernay, playing the choreographer and star dancer respectively in this performance flowed across the stage in poetic movement, as a myriad of influences including jazz and classical form intertwine.

The company also take to the show with vigour, working their way from the rehearsal room introduction, in which they are all able to showcase their talents in little vignettes through to the final ensemble number.

Of considerable note is Lez Brotherston’s set design which has simple staging for the Kelly scenes and is bookended by the rehearsal studio which contains all the elements one would expect.

As an hour long performance this is a highly enjoyable look into the past interpreted in the present.

Startstruck runs until Saturday with tickets from https://www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/

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