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La Sylphide best forgotten; Philip Key Arts Diary BALLET.

Byline: Malcolm Handley

La Sylphide The Lowry WHAT is it about the Scots and witches? From Macbeth on, you can almost guarantee the old hag will be wheeled on stage, offered the opportunity to read fortunes, only for her to repay the favour by predicting doom and gloom.

Still, if they are determined not to learn then they can only expect to reap what they have sown and James, the hero of the quaintly Scottish-based ballet, La Sylphide, proves no exception.

With little or no thought for the consequences and not much ceremony, he has his witch - named Madge by the way - thrown out into the cold for nothing worse than being ugly and telling it like it is. The Latvian National Ballet may well have stolen hearts with its Coppelia earlier in the week but the best they were ever likely to achieve with this offering is a "could do better".

La Sylphide is not one of the best ballets and it is perhaps easy to see why.

The tale is thin, the choreography owes more to the mime influences of its early life and there are too many opportunities to get it wrong.

The dance lacks fluidity and, in truth, is not too hot on drama or expressiveness.

The Latvian National Ballet will be remembered for its entertaining interpretation of Coppelia - this Sylphide is perhaps best forgotten.
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 8, 2002
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