‘The Girl Who Needed Watching’
at The Georgia Ballet
“The Girl Who Needed Watching” is an alternate title for the classical ballet “La Fille Mal Gardee,” which translates to “the poorly guarded girl.” Publicized as one of the most important classical ballets by critics and dance professionals around the world, the comedic storyline focuses on a young girl, Lise (Kelsey Stanhope), who falls in love with a local farm boy, Colas (Josiah Savage), but her mother has arranged an engagement to a rich but clumsy and slow-witted-son of a vineyard farmer. The playful story about a mother keeping an eye on her young love-struck daughter mixes cartoon-like playfulness with romance.
The chickens, who peck and dance, are played by dancers who appear to be in their teens. To me, they are the most amusing part of the show. The mother, Widow Simone (played by a man, Matt Rice), is also amusing and is very over-exaggerated with her facial expressions and movements, reminding me of a cartoon character from the 1960s. But it works and doesn’t seem overdone.
Ballet is supposed to look effortless and smooth, and that is often not attained in this production. If you’re looking for the quality of dancers you’d find with the Atlanta Ballet, you won’t find it here. However, you will find a show that would be nice for children.
Based in Marietta, The Georgia Ballet teaches a variety of dance classes for children as young as age 3, as well as for adults. I don’t know if I’d return for another production, but I look forward to taking the adult ballet class.
Original choreography by Sir Fredrick Ashton, staged by Daet Rodriguez and Margit Peguero, music by Ferdinand Herold, “The Girl Who Needed Watching” runs through Oct. 8 at Marietta Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased at the event or online at GAB.