Ninette de Valois portraying a chess game

BRB’s new triple bill takes a close look at ballet history in Britain in 1937 at a time when London choreographers were creating unique work that was known throughout the world.  The first play Checkmate set at this time is narrative from Ninette de Valois portraying a chess game that moves slowly in a Manichean setting until the end explodes as each character piece comes into its own taking over the board.

The second play in the triple bill is set in 1946 and hails from Frederick Ashton with a more symphonic base as Variations is an abstract look at wartime in Britain and the trouble that comes from life immersed in war and how its characters are able to grow from this unique period of history.

Wrapping up the bill is Pineapple Poll also from the same time period written in 1951 and portraying a South African showing that he can be just as British as anyone else in the sailor world with plenty of sweethearts and musical numbers.

The effort by the BRB to revive each of these classics is honourable as most of them offer grand decors and required the artistic genius of three very different artists such as the cartoon set for Pineapple Poll created by Osbert Lancaster or the more elegant backdrop for Checkmate created by E. McKnight Kauffer.  Together the three plays show a piece of British heritage that is not appreciated far as much as it should be in Britain.