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Dance that will live long in the memory

THIS is David Bintley at his choreographic best, using an eclectic range of styles to obey the prime rule: movement must serve the story.

Edward II, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sunderland Empire until tonight

THIS is David Bintley at his choreographic best, using an eclectic range of styles to obey the prime rule: movement must serve the story.

And what a story of mediaeval murder and mayhem it is.

Young gay king struggling to reconcile his sexuality with his kingly duties is tormented, tortured and horribly killed – think red-hot poker – by power-hungry barons and his malevolent mum.

Bintley is aided in his mission to achieve narrative clarity by a richly textured score from former Durham University composer John McCabe, a delightfully modern take on 13th Century fashion by Jasper Conran, and a set and lighting by Peter Davison and Peter Mumford to wrap the whole thing up.

Add a cast of principals who devour their roles with every fibre of their bodies and you have a comprehensive package with which it is hard to find any fault.

Some retentive purists will probably use the word “theatrical” in a very negative sense, as if this somehow degrades the balletic form.

All I can says is “thanks be” for theatricality when it results in one of my most memorable evenings in a theatre.

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