Pet Shop Ballet “The Most Incredible Thing” Now On American Stage

“The Most Incredible Thing” premiered in 2011 in England…seven years later, and America’s ready

It pays to pay attention to your blog’s comments! just yesterday, DJ Shelf asked me if I was going to Charlotte in the next ten days to see the American debut of the Pet Shop Boys ballet “The Most Incredible Thing” and not only did I not know it was playing two hours away, I had no idea that PSB had ever written a ballet score! Sure, sure. I knew about their “Battleship Potempkin” score, but this happened in 2011, and was an adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson story. The artistic director of Sadler’s Wells had approached the band and asked them about writing a ballet for the company, and the band thought that this story would be an evocative basis for the collaboration. It premiered in Spring of 2011 and was eventually brought back for more shows in the 2012 season at Sadler’s Wells, but until tonight, it has never played elsewhere.

Choreographer Javier de Frutos © Richard Hubert Smith

After writing the score and book, a choreographer was needed to bring it to life. Enter Javier de Frutos.  His CV included controversial works such as “Eternal Damnation of Sancho and Sanchez,” which the BBC declined to air as planned, to more centrist work such as his award-winning revival of “Cabaret” for which he won an Olivier award. He is in Charlotte now, having pushed the Charlotte Ballet through a series of frames necessary for them to perform the work as he envisioned it. Elements of modern dance have been injected into the formerly staid ballet company and I can’t wait to see the results. Though I wax eloquent [hopefully] about the music here, I also have a fondness for the terpsichorean arts that is exceeded by my ballet-loving wife.

Staging from the original Sadler’s Wells production © Hugo Glendinning

When I mentioned this to her last night before a film, she took about three seconds to ask if I wanted to go. Charlotte is only a two hour drive from Asheville, and even with two trips scheduled for April [OMD/Atlanta, a personal trip to PA], it made sense to see a matinee of this since the show has fantastic potential. A phone call later and our friends Elisa + Tom are in for the trip since they also live two hours from Charlotte.

This looks like staging from “Performance,” the first Pet Shop Boys world tour, but it’s from the first staging of “The Most Important Thing”  © Hugo Glendinning

The photos on the Pet Shop Boys website in the ‘Theatre + Film” section of site certainly piqued my interest since the staging suggests some phantasmagorical blend of “Metropolis,” “Brazil,” and more traditional ballet theater. Sadler’s Wells had a 60 piece orchestra playing, but here in Charlotte, the original Pet Shop Boys electronic score will be used instead, understandably. The budget would have shot through the roof, and as this is an elaborately staged show, I accept that decision.

What is fascinating about their score, is that the orchestral version is the common version. Until tonight, the only way to hear the Pet Shop Boys version of the ballet score was to buy the [exorbitantly priced, as usual] Vinyl Factory 3xLP bespoke folio edition [see: right] that will currently set you back $500-1000.  Ouch. So we in The States get to hear it for a fraction of that cost with the show itself as an added bonus! Interested in attending? Tickets can be found here.

Charlotte Ballet: The Most Incredible Thing | US Premiere | 2018

March 9 | Friday | 7:30 PM
March 10 | Saturday | 2 PM
March 10 | Saturday | 7 PM
March 11 | Sunday | 2 PM
March 15 | Thursday | 7:30 PM
March 16 | Friday | 7:30 PM
March 17 | Saturday | 2 PM
March 17 | Saturday | 7 PM
March 18 | Sunday | 2 PM

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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4 Responses to Pet Shop Ballet “The Most Incredible Thing” Now On American Stage

  1. Tim says:

    Guess I’m lucky I snagged the score for this when it came out – you sure it isn’t on Amazon or
    iTunes as a d/l for less? I just checked Amazon and they have the cd version for $17 new and $4 used.


  2. Tim says:

    I thought it was all one and the same, thanks for the heads up.


  3. Tim says:

    On Wikipedia it says that it’s the Pet Shop Boys music for the play plus the demos. Doesn’t indicate that the ”soundtrack” is different from what’s on the cd/mp3, it doesn’t say whose recording/version it is of the music, do we have another Bladerunner soundtrack saga here?

    “An exclusive, limited art edition, with only 500 copies available worldwide, each hand-numbered and signed by the Pet Shop Boys was released in May 2011.[18] Designed by Mark Farrow, who also collaborated with the duo on the much sought-after collector’s edition of their 2009 album Yes, this release features music and artwork exclusive to The Vinyl Factory edition.

    A silk cloth bound hard board slipcase contains a hardback book with seven record sleeves. Six of these house heavyweight 180-gram vinyl records pressed on the EMI 1400. The records feature the Pet Shop Boys’ music for the ballet as well as the original demo versions of each of the compositions, only available in this release. The seventh sleeve contains an oversized foldout sheet music print, signed by Tennant and Lowe. The ballet’s synopsis is printed onto the record sleeves so that each has an accompanying narrative that reads like a storybook.”


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