THEATRE REVIEWS - Le Corsaire, English National Ballet

La Corsaire at The Palace Theatre, Manchester
La Corsaire at The Palace Theatre, Manchester

LE CORSAIRE (The Pirate) is not the most famous ballet in the world.

Not by a long leap. But it’s revival by the greatly-respected English National Ballet does them enormous credit.

It’s a swash-buckling story of love gained and lost and its arrival at the Palace Theatre is a reason for joy and celebration. Quite simply, it’s terrific. A warm treat on a winter evening, and in many ways, just right for St Valentine’s week.

The bitter February night is left behind as Le Corsaire whisks us off to the mysterious delights of the Orient where a long-gone age is re-captured with style and elegance and a dash of fun.

It’s quite a while since I’ve witnessed such a toweringly-high standard of dance. Little wonder the audience were cheering long before the final scene.

With over 60 dancers filling the wonderfully mysterious sets, Le Corsaire waves a dozen magic wands which create images to delight the eye. And true to say that English National Ballet is the first UK company to perform the full work which magnificently show-cases some of the most spectacular male dancing in the whole ballet repertoire.

It’s a mystery why this heart-warming and sometime brutal story based on a Lord Byron Story in 1814 has never taken its rightful place alongside favourites such as Swan Lake, Coppelia, Romeo and Juliet and La Fille Mal Gardee. It certainly deserves to. It’s quite simply crackingly good from first curtain to last.

Mention must be made of the principal diners whose work took the breath away, upper-most beings Sabastian Zmora, whose abilities were nothing less than spectacular. How the audience loved him.

Others winning praise Erina Takahashi, Yonah Acosta, Lourretta Sommerscales, Max Westwell and Michael Coleman.

This ballet was an example of glittering perfection. It’s true, the battleship gets into trouble in the last moments. But nothing could detract from this rare treat.

Palace Theatre, Manchester, until February 15.