Sergei Polunin: Fraudulent Smile, Paradox and Sacré at London Palladium
Known best for his ethereal ballet recital to Hozier’s Take Me to Church – a performance that earned him a string of prominent roles in the film and modelling industries – Ukrainian-born dancer Sergei Polunin takes to the London Palladium stage to present a medley of choreographed routines over the course of three acts: Fraudulent Smile, Paradox and Sacré – each of which explores the dichotomy of good and evil in Man, attempting to fathom why humanity behaves in the way that it does.
The first piece to kick-start the evening, choreographed by Ross Freddie Ray, has the dance ensemble examining the deceptiveness of appearances and the vulnerability of innocence. Headed by Johan Kobborg, as the man behind the mask, the narrative sees its purest soul succumb to corruption and be made to pay its ultimate price. Artistically lit by Konstantin Binkin, who through his juxtaposition of tungsten-like warmth and frosty-cold blue tones supports the account by delicately capturing these contrasting personalities, Fraudulent Smile conveys what it sets out to achieve – being the strongest contender in the pack of acts to deliver upon its message.
While Paradox takes an abstract look at the initial breakdown of Vaslav Nijinsky’s mental health, Sacré – Polunin’s lengthy solo performance – elucidates it. Dancing amidst a circular rope that is copiously covered in leaves, the ballet star pirouettes his way around the stage, interacting with his given props in a way that appears to be a reflection of Nijinsky’s own cry for help. It is here where the choreography significantly stalls, short in creativity and showcasing itself as more of an improvised piece, whereby the performer spends a large amount of time promenading and laying down, presumably to conserve energy, than sticking to a rigorous, well-timed routine.
Photo: Alexey Kerkis
Sergei Polunin: Fraudulent Smile, Paradox and Sacré is at London Palladium from 29th May until 1st June 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.