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Starstruck – Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Undoubtedly, Starstruck is a triumphant return to the stage for the Scottish Ballet. The hour-long production is tantalizingly short, yet still successfully transports its audience into a fantastical world full of visual delights. 

First and foremost, Gene Kelley’s choreography is great fun. While quite different from traditional classical ballet, its charm comes from its modern zeal. The 1960s choreography contains strong stylistic influences from jazz dance; every combination and variation is poignantly lively. The set is elegantly simple — a creative representation of Paris — and the jubilant music from Gershwin and Chopin is fitting to the tone of the ballet. 

The stars of the show are the Star Ballerina, the Choreographer, and Cupid. These dancers practically glitter on stage, stealing the eyes of every audience member. Their technique is clean and flawless; however, most importantly, their charming performances are unapologetically passionate. Every sassy step or longing glance is deliciously executed, their emotions projected to the back of the furthermost balcony. 

The layers of theatricality make Starstruck particularly intriguing. The ballet is about a ballet, and the audience becomes privy to the process of staging a show. As a ballet dancer myself, the first scene in the studio is nostalgically joyful. Truly, this production is a ‘love-letter’ to the art form. I could not tear my gaze from the stage as I watched dancers at the barre, a place so beloved and familiar to me. Moreover, the use of barre mirror illusions was enthralling. 

Essentially, the ballet is about love. Starstruck embodies love for the art form of ballet, yet simultaneously demonstrates the exciting passion of romantic love. Mortals and immortals alike are wound up in the strings of heartache and desire — literally and figuratively. The Lifeguard and his lover are ripped apart by Cupid’s arrow and then reunited by a puppeteering Zeus. Aphrodite and Zeus argue and reconcile. The Star Ballerina coyly vies for the attention and affection of the Choreographer. Love is the motivator for the ballet’s plot, a happy ending to be achieved and a force not meant to be trifled with (as Aphrodite learns). Long extended legs, seductive glances, and romantic embraces are in abundance.  

The only faults of the production are its brevity and the few moments where dancers seemed out of sync with one another. Furthermore, some dancers in the soloist cast seemed to shine more brightly on stage than others. Nevertheless, the victorious production will assuredly lift the spirits of any theatre-goer. Speaking of theatre-going, ballet tickets for students and those under 26 years of age can be bought at the discounted price of £10 (more information on the Capital Theatres website). So, why not treat yourself to an inexpensive, enchanting night out?

Starstruck is a delightful amuse-bouche that whet my appetite for more. Prepare to exit the theatre with a reinvigorated desire to kiss your lover, dance on tabletops, and buy tickets for whichever ballet is coming next to town.

Image via Capital Theatres