Giselle (3 stars)

This article is from 2018


credit: Declan English

Classical ballet's jilted innocent gets a modern make-over

Full-length classical ballets are hardly common on the Fringe, which lends Ballet Ireland's update of this Gothic lynchpin of the Romantic era an immediate novelty factor.

Choreographed by former Royal Ballet dancer Ludovic Ondiviela, it's a pretty sleek little touring production even if some of the dramaturgy is questionable. The opening is neat yet weak, with our titular heroine (played by Ana Enriquez-Gonzalez, a fine dancer as well as a convincing corpse) blithely taken for a ride by Mario Gaglione's two-timing Albrecht. Spoiler alert: Giselle kicks the bucket, but whether it's because the poor girl's ticker gave out (as tradition has it) or due to being knifed by her sweetie's snooty fiancée Bathilde (Ryoko Yagyu, excellent) is a moot point.

The show slips into act two's realm of the dead via, we kid you not, a police procedural. More surprising, especially in the #MeToo era, is to not have the man bear as much of the blame for Giselle's tragic early death as in the source work. Hilarion (Rodolfo Saralva), too, is treated with considerable sympathy. If the performance overall carries little emotional heft, those who rise from their grave – and that's nearly the entire cast of ten – are effectively creepy.

Dance Base, until 19 Aug (not 13), 8.45pm, £13 (£11).


  • 3 stars

Ballet Ireland Giselle is a haunting story of love and betrayal. This modern retelling of the romantic classic revives a timeless tale about the redemptive power of love. Betrayed by Albrecht, Giselle dies of a broken heart but her spirit returns to forgive her now repenting lover and protect him from death at the hands…