The Sylph gives us an insight into the Romantic ballet era, a beautiful, aesthetic world, gracious and rich in nostalgia.
This one woman show, starring Gertraud Ingeborg, is an autobiographical monologue, delivered effortlessly, very naturally and unforced, telling the story of ballet legend, lover and woman, Marie Taglioni, born in Sweden in 1804.
Dressed in vintage black 1800s long bustle dress and pearls, Ingeborg is dignified as she interweaves a personal story of love and heartbreak, with that of her dancing career, the stage performances in front of royalty and tours across the cities of Europe.
Set in the twilight of her life, this production looks back on the life Taglioni lived and the choices she made along the way. Born into a family of opera singers, choreographers and ballet dancers, Taglioni credits her success to a domineering father who home schooled her and instilled a severe regime of ballet practice, hours upon hours of repetition that produced her ground breaking style.
The Sylph sometimes slips into magic realism, a world of forest fairies and fantasy, a metaphor to her ethereal quality of dancing and reference perhaps to the play’s title, Sylph, an imaginary spirit of the air.
Written by Australian ballet dancer Jodi Rose, The Sylph is a real story about a compelling woman, complete with foibles, insecurities and a trifle egocentric. It doesn’t particularly feel like a period piece, it’s timeless, it could be from any era. There is commonality in the tales this famous performer spins, the visits backstage by suitors and fans, the whirlwind of romance, juggling motherhood while trying to perfect her art and a fairy tale life lived with princes and palaces.
Until Apr 29, 8pm. Old 505 Theatre, 5 Eliza St, Newtown. $30-$45. Tickets & Info: www.old505theatre.com
Reviewed by Mel Somerville.