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An evening of grace and beauty from the East

The Embroidery Girl, Albany Theatre, Coventry, until April 7.

Well done to the Albany Theatre for bringing Jiangsu Wuxi Song and Dance Troupe to Coventry.

They live up to their reputation as one of China's leading national theatre groups with a performance that is mesmerising in its storytelling skill and dancing ability. The story is set in China’s past where powerful men ruled and expected to be obeyed no matter how much unhappiness they caused.

The story is one that has been told many times: Two young people deeply in love but prevented from being together by the will of others. The tenderness of the lovers is set against the tyranny of the court and this creates the contrast and drama of the dance sequences. The visual impact of the production is stunning. The use of vibrant colours weaves an embroidery of dance as the principal character Xiu Niang employs her sewing skill to express her love for Ming Xuan. At times the stage shimmers with silk from the various costume changes, particularly in the lotus garden scenes. It is enchanting to watch the lovers expressing their love through movements that at times are breathtaking in their control and grace. Both the solo and duet performances of the principal dancers’ scenes are emotional and tender while the ensemble scenes are full of energy and drama, especially in the second half where there are some impressive set pieces.

Another point of interest is the reaction of the Master’s wife who is jealous of his new infatuation. Her reactions to Xiu Niang not only add tension but at times a touch of humour to this sad tale.

If you want to see something charming and culturally different, catch this performance at the Albany Theatre.

For tickets call 024 7699 8964

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