Film/Theatre Review: Sylvia, 20 July, Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh

20 Jul

Continuing on the Cameo picture house’s “Summer Season”, is the Royal Ballet’s performance of Sylvia. With music from French composer Léo Delibes and choreography by the Royal Ballet’s founding member Frederick Ashton, not to mention that, for our viewing pleasure, we will be seeing this in High Definition, surely we cannot fail to be impressed?

The story is based on a Greek myth. Sylvia, a huntress and our leading lady, is one of Diana’s nymphs. In the manner of a classic love story, she has decided to renounce love. That is, until the intervention of Eros (the god of lust and love). She falls for Aminta, a shepherd whose heart already belongs to Sylvia.

Sylvia is abducted by the hunter god, Orion, and taken to his island cave, where he tries to woo her with jewels and fine wares. Eros once again interjects and saves her from his clutches.  He returns her to her love and in the shadow of Diana’s temple they rejoice.

The theatre provides a certain ambiance that cannot be easily recreated when recorded, and there is, initially, an unfamiliar removal from the atmosphere one normally expects from a live performance. However, there is an invitation into aspects of a theatrical experience that are not commonly observed.

For example, during the overture, we do not see the stage, but are invited into the orchestra pit to meet the musicians as they play. We also get to capture the facial expressions and character nuances that we would not otherwise be party to, and this only helps to improve the experience.

It is obvious from very early in the show, that Sylvia, aka Darcey Bussell (CBE) has had her fair share of astounding reviews. She has the grace and precision any professional would aspire to and it’s little wonder that she has been referred to as “Britain’s favourite ballerina”. It must be noted that all of the dancers have great command of the stage and when the recording angles are so close to them, there is little room for error.

While it can be unusual to have a theatrical experience on a viewing screen, the three acts of “Sylvia” do not fail to impress. It all makes for such a breathtaking experience, Eros must have surely pierced our hearts with his arrows.

Review by Gillian Jones

Find out more about future Summer Season performances over at the Cameo website.

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