(Judith Mackrell’s article appeared in the Guardian, 8/21.)
The story of Vaslav Nijinsky – the mad, broken genius of ballet – has been told many times on stage. Yet of all the versions I have seen, none has evoked its subject with the imagination and tenderness of Kally Lloyd-Jones’s new work.
Nijinsky’s Last Jump is cast for two performers – Darren Brownlie and James Bryce – who play young and old Nijinsky respectively. And it is from the delicate interplay between these two that Lloyd–Jones is able to layer her rich and humane portrait.
Typical is the work’s opening, in which old Nijinsky, stocky and immobile, is remembering a moment from childhood, when he finds he can save himself from drowning by jumping up to the water’s surface. Slowly, his limbs come alive as, drifting across the stage, he hears the music from Spectre de la Rose, the ballet that will make his jump world-famous.
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