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Review- Queensland Ballet’s Manon: a five star, triple “wow” show

By Eric Scott

Mia Heathcote as Manon and Patricio Revé as Des Grieux.Photo by David Kelly


Choreographed by Kenneth McMillan

Music by Jules Massenet arranged by Martin Yates

Staged by Julie Lincoln

Performed by the Queensland Ballet

Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nigel Gaynor

Lyric Theatre



Season: September 28 October 8. Booking at

Word has it that Queensland Ballet is recognised as one of the world’s best. This production of Manon proved it. It was a five star, triple “wow” show. The staging was superb, the dancing sublime and the choreography was unbelievably intricate and intense, unlike anything I have seen before. The music score, compiled by the creator from the works of Jules Massenet, too was dramatic and fitted every changing mood of the ballet. These moods ranged from love and romance to comedy and the downright sexual. Add to this the stunning costumes by Peter Farmer, who also designed the sets, some moody lighting from JacopoPantani and you had the perfect production.

This romantic tragedy follows the story of a penniless young French peasant girl conflicted by love and a yearning to be free from poverty. It’s 1700s Paris and the beautiful Manon is on her way to enter a convent, when the old and wealthy Monsieur GM makes an offer for her hand to her brother Lescaut. Left outside while the arrangement is finalised, Manon meets and falls in love with the handsome Des Grieux and they flee Paris. Later found and tempted by Monsieur GM’s extravagant wealth, she leaves with him as his courtesan, but that is the beginning of more drama and heartbreak.

The story is dark, but totally absorbing and the telling was enhanced by some terrific acting from corps to principals. It was wonderful to see how easily the company dancers changed character according to the role.

I attended a 1.30pm matinee on a Saturday and was blown away with the performance. The trio of lead characters was faultless with newly promoted Principal Dancers Mia Heathcote as Manon and Patricio Revé as Des Grieux the besotted would-be lover and Alexander Idaszak as the rascally Lescaut.

Heathcote and Revé had several pas de deux which were breathtaking with drama and movement that included the most amazing lifts I have seen. But these fabulous moves weren’t confined to the leads; the entire company, which was huge, executed the intricate movements, which included throwing Manon from man to man, with ease.

Idaszak too earned rapturous applause for his amazing “drunk” dance. It topped my list. He created a truly memorable character. Then came fine performances from Vito Bernasconi as the super-rich Monsieur GM, Georgia Swan as the brothel madam and Yanela Piñera as Lescaut’s mistress.

It was a delight to sees such a great company on stage. With a second show scheduled for the same night it proved what incredible depth of talent the company has.

This is one not to be missed whatever the cast..


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