Diaghilev on the Beach is a Versace inspired reimagining of the Ballet Russes classic  Afternoon of a Faun.  In this version two nymphs laze on a high fashion beach with their obedient, diamante collared, captive faun, in tow. Diaghilev   Full of references to the original this is a sultry, leopard printed dance, full of pouty lips and meaningful glances.

‘In Diaghilev on the Beach… Joseph Mercier presents a reworking of Nijinsky’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, set to Debussy’s score. Mercier locates the piece at a balmy poolside, where two cocktail-sipping, harem-panted Nefertitis (Sarah Cattrall and Natalie Clarke) indulge their slave (Mercier), who is costumed in golden briefs and a jewelled dog collar. As Clarke languidly oils her breasts, Cattrall leads Mercier around, occasionally permitting him to lick her feet, and alternately stroking and slapping him. Nijinsky’s 1912 work ends with the faun shuddering in orgasm over a scarf stolen from a nymph, and a century later Mercier references the critical reaction (“filthy and bestial”, according to Le Figaro) by having Cattrall lubricate a butt plug attached to a jewelled animal tail, and insert it in her slave’s proffered rectum. It’s a startling moment, and even among the too-cool-for-school Chisenhale crowd occasions a quiet intake of breath. But the piece works. It perfectly reproduces the timeless languor of the original, it matches it in provocation, and in Mercier’s assumption of the most abject characteristics of the Faun and the Golden Slave from Schéhérazade (another Diaghilev sex-ballet), pitches reverberant questions about the dominant-submissive relationship of performer and audience’  Luke Jennings, The Observer [link to full article]

Duration: 13min


Created by

Choreography: Joseph Mercier
Performers: Natalie Clarke, Sarah Cattrall and Joseph Mercier
Costume Design: Lorna Thomas

Produced by: Clara Giraud


Performance History

Oh So Totally Rad at the Chisenhale Dance Space.