With segments and sections from Swan Lake, Don Quixote and more, The Trocks uses two very straightforward long-running gags. Simple but very effective, the show explores the tropes of ballet as an artform and turns the exploits of some of the performers into self-aware slapstick, with some dancers stumbling over each other and highlighting the difficulty of various steps. Meanwhile, the hilarity of having men in tutus is exploited for all its worth, with men struggling to pick each other up and frequent slips between feminine daintiness and masculine inelegance, which contrasts all the more in this context.
Solos, duets and ensemble pieces are all executed with aplomb, while stock comedic characters emerge that captivate attention and make for a compelling piece of slapstick. More like something from Fantasia than the Bolshoi, the company uses simplistic sets and prerecorded music as a backdrop to create something magical. Because for what they lack in material creativity, they abound in remarkable theatricality that is as much a study of comedic tropes as it is anything balletic. And The Trocks proves that timing is just as, if not more, important to comedy as it is to dancing.
Some of the most successful comedic drag stems from the play on gender, making obvious the gimmick that we are all there to see. For the most part, The Trocks is evidence that men really can dance the female parts as well as a ballerina, but it's this acknowledgement of what they're trying to hide visually that makes this show such a bloody hoot. So whether you like ballet or not, it's definitely worth checking out... plus there's a man in wet-look tights that fit, ahem, rather well and are subsequently, ahem, really rather astonishing. But it's not often that you can see real artists seriously taking the piss out of their own medium though, is it?