Get Back to Where You Once Belonged: Critics Pan Paul McCartney's Ballet Debut, "Ocean's Kingdom"

Get Back to Where You Once Belonged: Critics Pan Paul McCartney's Ballet Debut, "Ocean's Kingdom"
New York City Ballet master in chief Peter Martins, Paul McCartney, and NYCB principal dancer Sara Mearns
(Photo by Paul Kolnik)

Thereviews of Paul McCartney's underwater princess ballet, "Ocean's Kingdom," havestarting rolling in, and the critics aren't too impressed by the Beatle'scollaboration with his daughter Stella McCartney, who designed the costumes,and New York City Ballet master in chief Peter Martins, who choreographed theproduction. McCartney's score was generally well received, while the criticsslammed the storyline, costumes and choreography. ARTINFO culled togetherhighlights from the handful of "Ocean's Kingdom" reviews below:

"We can blame thenew ballet's scenario: it's trite. We can blame the ballet's costumes, by Mr.McCartney's daughter, the fashion designer Stella McCartney: they're intrusive,unflattering and clichéd. But there have been better ballets to much sillierscenarios, and many of the greatest choreographers (above all, GeorgeBalanchine, City Ballet's founder, with Lincoln Kirstein) have sometimessaddled their work with abysmal costumes."
-Alastair Macaulay,New York Times

"Give McCartneycredit — his music does manage to convey the setting and underscore the action.If only the action was worth watching. Peter Martins's dances are notjust forgettable, they're boring...The costumessimply served to make the water kingdom look like a hipster garden party andthe earth people look like a Maori biker gang.  At its worst theLycra-and-plumage outfits and decor called to mind a Vegas revamp of 'Cats.'"
-James C. Taylor,Los Angeles Times

"The story, whichMcCartney helped create, was childishly simplistic: boy meets girl — in thiscase an ocean dwelling Princess called Honorata - girl is kidnapped by a wickedqueen, boy and girl are reunited in a finale, which had something of a schoolplay feel to it, despite the stellar performances from the members of one ofthe finest ballet companies in the country."
-Melissa Whitworth,Daily Telegraph

"Martins'schoreography was pleasant enough, without being striking or memorable."
-Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press

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