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Take a classic 1951 Hollywood movie with music by Gershwin, add a talented choreographer who’s well known to balletomanes (but a newcomer to the world of theatre) let him direct a new stage version and the result is charming, poignant and beautifully performed by classically trained ballet dancers who not only move with delightful ease but sing pretty well too.

Royal Ballet Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon has refashioned the film, darkened the underlying mood slightly, added more Gershwin tunes – and already garnered a handful of awards for this Broadway hit which started life in Paris and arrives over here complete with the two stars who originated the lead roles.

The war is over and GI Jerry decides to tear up his demob ticket back to the States and pursue a career as an artist in newly liberated Paris. He makes friends (David Seadon-Young’s wounded composer Adam and Haydn Oakley’s wealthy, wannabe nightclub singer Henri), begins an affair with Zoe Rainey’s glamorous American philanthropist Milo Davenport, and falls for Lise, the young Parisienne he keeps on bumping into – and who turns out to be the girl Henri hasn’t got the gumption to propose to.

Wheeldon’s gorgeously expressive choreography (along with Bob Crowley’s equally fluid design) reveals a city just emerging from occupation and adds depth – and wit - to a fairly straightforward “boy meets girl” scenario. Leanne Cope’s graceful Lise (beholden to one man but in love with another) is a pleasure to watch. And New York City Ballet principal Robert Fairchild’s Jerry, with his easy athletic elegance, is even better in this evocative musical theatre production with a dazzling difference.

Dominion, Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7AQ

Tube: Tottenham Court Road

Until 30th September

£19.50 - £75.00 +premium seats


Theatre Review: An American in Paris
Digital Mag

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