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.