"La Fille Mal Gardée"
American Ballet Theatre
Metropolitan Opera House
New York, NY
May 25, 2016 matinee
by Mary Cargill
copyright © 2016 by Mary Cargill
The Widow Simone's first entrance in Frederick Ashton's "La Fille Mal Gardée" is rarely greeted with the same storm of applause as that of her daughter, but the Wednesday matinee's Widow was the revered dancer Marcelo Gomes, trying out his clogs for the first time. I did see Stanley Holden, the original Widow, who danced it like an old-time, well-loved music hall performer, sharing the joke with the audience slyly, with a quiet wink, not with a brusque elbow to the ribs. Gomes had that same approach; he didn't try to disguise his features and feminize his movements, while putting the story first; this was Jack Lemmon in "Some Like it Hot", not a burlesque comedian. He seemed to be having a wonderful time both as Gomes and the Widow, and the audience lapped up this double approach, loving the sight of Gomes spanking Gillian Murphy or lifting Cory Stearns in a huge bear hug, while being gripped by the story he was telling with so many fussy, funny details. It was a performance to savor.
Gillian Murphy and Cory Stearns in "La Fille Mal Gardée" Photo © Rosalie O'Connor.