Love Lies Bleeding is a must-see spectacle  - Alberta Ballet Company (Photo by J.J. Thompson)

Alberta Ballet Company (Photo by J.J. Thompson)

By: Only in the PegMarch 2, 2017 // LGBT, Performing Arts

Going into Love Lies Bleeding, we wanted a grand spectacle dripping with outrageous costuming, surreal drug-induced scenes from Sir Elton John’s past, and above all a grand choreographed scene to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” 

And sweet mercy, did we ever get all those things and more in spades! 

This guest performance by Alberta Ballet -- presented by Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and performed at the Centennial Concert Hall -- is hugely entertaining, and an obvious must-see for fans of Elton (it’s a surreal take of his story and 70s pop-glam after all, brimming with the some of the best tunes from his and collaborator Bernie Taupin’s catalogue).

Now, we're not ballet experts, but this would certainly fall under the umbrella of contemporary, if our years of watching So You Think You Can Dance have taught us anything. Amongst the entrechats (a term we admittedly Googled – it’s when you jump and flutter your toes at the floor) and pointe work there are scenes of Dallas Cowgirl-like tush push numbers, a Clockwork Orange-looking troupe (who represent Elton’s inner demons) doing some sort of lyrical jazz/burlesque hybrid, along with a drag queen trio that nearly steals the show.   

It all adds up to a delicious feast for the eyes – and we haven’t even covered the “Rocket Man” routine, which is replete with rollerblades and the sort of cyborg-esque attire that a flamboyant Iron Man would readily approve of.    

Love Lies Bleeding is engrossing on so many levels. It surely does not back away from the singer’s coke-fuelled past (so don’t bring the kids; there are a couple powdery scenes that you won’t want to explain) nor is it afraid to be overtly sexual and a tad dark in certain spots. 

Yet, there are triumphs and touching moments, while massive props must be made to principal dancer Kelley McKinlay for his portrayal as Elton. The role looks physically demanding to say the least (he’s seemingly never not on stage), while after each scene he gets stripped down to his tighty whities (if you want to see a guy in his briefs for long periods of time, this is certainly the show for you) before other cast members quickly swarm him to put assemble a new outfit. 

It’s dazzling stuff, and a show all dance fans really must not miss. 

There are four shows left: tonight, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (March 2-5) with good seats still available for all. 

Get your tickets (and more info) here.