The tale of Madame Butterfly is delicate, elegant and beautiful. It is also tragic in a way that Shakespeare would relish.
As a young geisha, Madame Butterfly is spotted by Pinkerton, an American naval officer whose bravado shines as brightly as his Daz Doorstep Challenge uniform. Goro the marriage broker gladly tells him that the girl can be purchased as a bride, which Pinkerton clearly has no reservations with. Madame Butterfly is bought and renounces her religion to adopt Christianity, only to then be declared an outcast by the local holy man during the celebrations. As if that weren't harsh enough, on the night of her wedding it's wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am before Pinkerton leaves for his other love: the ship that will take him far away for as long as duty requires.
That's only the beginning of this heartbreaking story, which is expertly balanced with fleet-footed ballet and sprightly comedy, especially through the amusing character of Goro. A simple set where movement and symphony tell the tale, Northern Ballet's Madame Butterfly is soothing and poignant in equal measure. With every moment designed to convey quality storytelling, you'll barely notice that no one speaks a word throughout.
Madame Butterfly runs at Hull New Theatre until Saturday 26 September (7:30pm nightly plus a 2:30pm Saturday matinee). The evening begins with a separate piece, Perpetuum Mobile. For tickets, call 01482 300300 or book online.
Author: Rich Sutherland, @beardybiscuits