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Boxing clever at the Royal Opera House

November 21, 2016
Chroma, Wayne McGregor, Royal Opera House

We went to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden last week and had a gorgeous time that for me, naughtily, had very little to do with what was on stage.

The show we were seeing was Chroma by Wayne McGregor, with music from the White Stripes. Wayne McGregor has been resident choreographer of the ROH for ten years, something I only know thanks to Google. After watching the show, though, I feel pretty familiar with his moves, and could replicate them, if I wasn’t terminally lazy and incapable even of bending my index finger without help and encouragement. The first bit involved gorgeous people in skin-toned chemises doing an energetic workout in a white box. The second bit was energetic people in black doing a frenetic workout against a grid background. The third part had some live music and was the most interesting by a mile – same moves.

Luckily, before the show and during both intervals, we had lovely food. I thought we’d be snatching a quick bite beforehand at the nearest Costa but no, we were seated at a great table at the Paul Hamlyn Hall restaurant and were soon tucking in to a delicious supper pre-selected by TL. Apparently they do this to cut down the faffing and leave you as much time as possible to enjoy the meal before watching the show, and I must say it did take a huge amount of hassle out of the whole dining process. I’d be quite happy to eat like this every time, particularly as we were all fine with trying and sharing each dish. At the first interval we had a variety of puddings, and at the second we had cheese. Splendid.

Another special thing about the evening was having a box. I’ve always been drawn to the sheer glamour of sitting pretty in one of these little enclaves while the rest of the audience are hugger-mugger in the cheap seats. I felt as though I was in Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence, or even Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, though fortunately my eyes didn’t lock with those of a languishing ex. Maybe that’s because there were no opera glasses in the box and I didn’t bring my specs. It turns out that boxes are designed more to be seen in than to give their occupants a great view of the stage, and we had to do a lot of craning to get a good view of the work-out routines, which after a while began to feel like an optional extra.

A lovely evening, probably for all the wrong reasons. I don’t feel nearly as guilty about that as I should.

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