Sadler’s Wells take on Matthew Bourne’s ‘Play Without Words’

Sadler’s Wells has decided to take on the 2002 staging of the 2002 Matthew Bourne Play Without Words ballet. The ballet was originally an adaption of the film The Servant by Joseph Losey which was based on a novel by the same name written by Robin Maugham.

After sorting through that very intricate history of where the ballet comes from, its plot can be summed up a bit more succinctly, as a theatre-ballet crossover piece that is essential a story of scheming and sex set back in the sixties.

The story itself takes place in Chelsea and tells of the different desires and relationships that form between a rich boss, his stunning fiancée, and a new manservant in the home. Given the fact that this generation is currently obsessed with entertainment such as Mad Men, this is the perfect time for a story that reeks of cigarette smoke and high style sex.

The production is non-verbal, but at the same time does not rely entirely on dance making it a unique experience to play a role in and watch unfold on the stage. Plus, the 16 dancers in the play are very fun to watch.

In particular the play easily shows the brilliance of Bourne when he chooses to triple or double a role because this creates even more possibilities for drama and emotion in each role. Plus, every member of the cast is perfect making the characters really come alive and seem like they are real people helping to evoke a much better reaction from the audience.

The jazz score is also appropriately groovy and haunting while the tap is perfect for the encounter scenes and together the performances, music, and dance steps help build towards a climax of the play that is simply delicious to watch.