If you’re looking for something lovely and romantic to do for Valentine’s Day, then Frederick Ashton’s Two Pigeons at the Royal Opera House is for you.
It’s a gorgeous, short ballet and, unlike some ballets, is perfectly easy to follow even if you haven’t done your homework beforehand and read the synopsis on Wikipedia. The movements are beautiful and, as anyone who lives in London can tell you, authentically pigeon-like. There’s also a wonderfully exuberant scene at a gypsy camp and, best of all, two trained real pigeons who totally steal the show. I knew pigeons could be trained to carry messages and find their way back to their homes from all over the country, but I didn’t know they could also perform beautifully on stage, unfazed by prancing dancers, lots of scenery and a full orchestra – not to mention a full house watching like, ahem, hawks.
I adored the performance. I wasn’t quite as sure about Asphodel Meadows, which came first and which all the cognoscenti were raving about. To me, it was a troupe of dancers in putty-coloured outfits doing the usual leg-waving. No doubt I was missing fathoms of meaning. It’s choreographed by Liam Scarlett and everyone says he’s the latest thing.
Anyway, enjoy a Valentine flutter with the Two Pigeons if you can. It’s on until 16th February and is just gorgeous.