Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo 2013
Tue 29 Jan - Wed 27 Feb 2013

Press Reviews

The Independent, Jenny Gilbert 6.2.13

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, aka the New York drag troupe The Trocks, are no strangers to these shores, but it was apt that they should open in the blue-rinse heartland of Kent the day the Commons voted for gay marriage. To a sold-out house, the 17-strong all-male company brought nothing but pleasure, delivering a programme of 19th-century classics with both gusto and technical aplomb.

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Daily Express, Neil Norman 8.2.13

‘THE gentlemen of the Trocks have been entertaining us for nearly 40 years. In that time they have risen from their origins in a New York loft to become one of the greatest acts on the planet.

By the time their 40th birthday rolls around they ought to be designated an “international treasure”. They make you believe that the Statue of Liberty is a drag queen.

The secret behind their unique appeal is the balance between their comic pastiche and sheer skill. I have said this before but it is worth repeating: not only can

The Trocks dance really well they can dance really well like women. Pointe work, arabesques, floating arms and feminine gestures are executed with a grace and elegance that would not shame a genuinely gendered ballerina. The facial expressions provide much of the incidental humour when they are not bumping into each other, missing cues or sliding unwittingly out of position.’

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Birmingham Post, Richard Edmonds 8.2.13

‘These marvellous men in drag, who leave their chest hair bristling above their ballerina cleavage, are perhaps the funniest thing on the ballet stage today’
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The Sunday Telegraph, Louise Levene 4.2.13

The Dying Swan is one of the highlights of the Trocks’ latest UK tour, which began at the ‘Salford Lowry on Tuesday with the usual brilliantly-paced programme of classical pastiche. The romantic white tutus and unseemly behaviour of Les Sylphides put the audience in the party mood with a clever blend of pratfalls and virtuosity…..’

‘The Trocks appeal to the mainstream with their cheerful and uncomplicated send-ps of classical pretensions, but the joke would soon wear think if the slapstick weren’t underpinned by strong technique, daily class and a profound love of their material. When a bog, hairy-chested Trock ballerina executes a familiar variation, we suddenly see classical ballet writ large, and it’s an oddly moving experience- reminding us how big and strong this seemingly fragile artform needs to be….’

‘The 39-yaer-old troupe has always been most famous for its divas but their preening porteurs are just as strong….’

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The Stage, Ben East 30.1.13

Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo – New York’s famous all-male pastiche ballet company – has gone from being an acquired taste to much-loved in nearly 40 years. In fact, there’s the slightest suggestion the company is fully aware of its cherished status and daren’t stray too far from it. The pre-show announcement in mock-Russian accent – there will be no appearance from ballerina Natalia Notgudinov – is exactly the same laboured joke made on their last tour. The Dying Swan, which Paul Ghiselin plays with a wonderful mix of Chaplin and Mr Bean, feathers fluttering everywhere, is now a not-to-be tampered-with greatest hit.

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The Daily Post, Malcolm Handley 30.1.13

‘It is not a ballet-knocking event nor is it satirical or a cynical sideswipe – The Trocks hold ballet in genuine respect – it is a fond homage to dance performed by a wonderfully talented company who are, for all the fun, seriously good dancers. As with Les Dawson’s piano recitals – you need to be very good to make getting it wrong seem genuine. The Trocks are – and they do.’

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4 stars What’s On Stage, Alan Hulme, 29.1.13

Paul Ghiselin, (Ida Nevesayneva), deservedly receives a rapturous ovation for his, seriously moulting, Dying Swan and the hi-jinks conclude with the utterly camp as a field of tents, Walpurgis Night, a confection whipped up from a Bolshoi staple, to music by Gounod, in which Nymphs, half-naked Fauns, Maidens, Pan and others run seriously riot.

The standard of execution is as high as ever, the fun quotient possibly better than ever and it unarguably remains the most fun night out you’ll ever have at the ballet.

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5 stars The Public Reviews, Dave Cunningham 29.1.13

Artistic Director Tony Dobrin offers a varied programme. Opening with the goofy but glorious version of ‘Les Sylphides’ featuring slapstick such as a dancer sleepwalking and plummeting screaming into the audience and a backing dancer grimly resigned to continually being flattened by a careless star. The sequences become subtler showing greater technical expertise but not ignoring the humour. Whilst technically excellent ‘Black Swan Pas de Deux’ also offers a great sight gag of a Swan towering over a diminutive Prince.

The warm-hearted spirit of the show is such that you instinctively accept that the apparent errors of the cast arise not from under-rehearsal but rather over-enthusiasm. After delivering a flawless sequence it seems only right that the dancer should celebrate by turning cartwheels.

The appeal of ‘Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo’ is hard to describe other than to repeat that – some things are just funny.

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Behind the Arras, Roger Clarke 2.2.13

The Trocks are fun, they enjoy what they are doing and the audience enjoy them, but first and foremost they are a ballet company with considerable skill and ability with gives them a platform for their gentle and affectionate dig at the foibles and affections of ballet – which, from the number of Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers in the audience – is appreciated even by those on the receiving end.

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Broadwayworld.com, Jenny Antill 2.2.13

I had the pleasure of seeing the Trocks on their last UK tour and was interested to see whether their niche was still fresh and original. Boasting an almost new programme, I was pleased to find out that their unique style is still as side-splittingly hilarious as it always has been. The comedy element is their strongest feat. It is definitely a show that it is worth paying slightly more money for and being closer to the stage as their facial expressions need to be seen!

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The Good Review, Rachael Gavaghan 1.2.13

I love that moment when the lights go down and a hush falls across the theatre in a blanket of expectation. Normally the curtains rise and so too your hopes for the show ahead, but the “Trocks” is different. Over the speakers the thickest Russian accent informs you of “Trrrraditional RRRussian last minute changes to perrrrformance.”  With ballerina names like Lariska Dumbchenko and Marina Plezegetovstageskaya the tone is set.

Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo has become an institution in the ballet community, its balance of spoof, slapstick and blistering skill is a joy to watch for aficionados and novices alike.

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Mark Brown, The Telegraph 2011

If you’re one of those people who has always felt that the ballet world takes itself a little too seriously, an evening with New York City’s famous pastiche ballet company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo might be the perfect antidote. “The Trocks”, as they are affectionately known, are an all-male company who offer ballet – complete with pointes and tutus – from a gloriously irreverent perspective.

Even before a single pirouette has been executed in this UK tour, the pre-show announcement (made in a preposterous, faux-Russian accent) gives us a sense of the deliciously humorous production to come. The company apologises, says the announcer, for the absence of the ballerina “Natalia Notgudinov”.

The show begins with the Trocks’ very special interpretation of Act 2 of Swan Lake. If you can imagine Mel Brooks and Eddie Izzard collaborating on an “action transvestite” ballet, you might have something approximating this brilliantly executed lampoon.

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4 stars Judith Mackrell, The Guardian

There’s a glorious logic to the fact that the Trocks, an all-male ballet troupe, camp as Christmas, have become guardians of the fragile curios of the classical repertory. Take Petipa’s carnival romp, Les Millions d’Arlequin (1900), which as far as I know hasn’t appeared on the straight ballet stage in aeons. With its skippily exuberant Harlequin and friends, and a Columbine as cutely winsome as a porcelain figurine, the work’s sugar content is now way too high for a modern audience.

But given the Trocks’s treatment of sharp-eyed pastiche and comic spin, the ballet gets a robust and weirdly credible reincarnation. There’s a lot of recognisable Petipa on stage, and all the tricks of parody (the exaggerated head tilts and gestural flourishes) simply focus the accuracy of the choreography’s reconstruction. Even when the Trocks let rip with their own physical gags, they never stray far from the ballet’s own world.

To read the full review, visit The Guardian online

Review Date: 26 September 2010

5 stars Louise Levine, Sunday Telegraph

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo combine old favourites and novelties with greater success (and infinitely more laughs). Swans will always be wanted, but each “Trocks” visit brings delicious new surprises. This week’s generous programme included the pas d’action from Marius Petipa’s 1900 romp Les Millions D’Arlequin and a painfully funny rendition of Leonid Lavrosky’s Walpurgisnacht.

The lash-fluttering allure of their “ballerinas” tends to earn more plaudits, but the Trocks’ princes are just as well observed. Joshua Grant (alias Ashley Romanoff-Titwillow) nails all the Siegfried mannerism, and in Walpurgisnacht the deadpan Brock Hayhoe manhandles his partners with the throwaway insouciance of a man juggling cigar boxes.

Review Date: 26 September 2010