Forget those photos from North Korea showing the build-up of weaponry. A couple of supersonic rockets were set off in London on Saturday night at the London Coliseum, and the audience is still reeling from the aftermath. The fabulous duo were at it again, blazing their way across a stage that seemed far too small for their gigantic leaps, defying gravity with the height of their jumps and going into spins that nearly bored holes in the stage floor. The pace started Olympic style, and continued to the final curtain call nearly three hours later. I’ve seen many productions of Don Quixote in my time, but nothing could compare to the excitement – and noise from the constantly cheering audience – which erupted from the auditorium that evening. It was an astonishing performance and every member of the company, and musician in the orchestra, rose to the occasion. As someone was overheard saying to a young lad, “You can tell your grandchildren that you were here.”

The cause of these earth-shattering images was those Russian ballet icons, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, as Kitri and Basilio, in the work that has become their signature tune. While they have proved themselves with great glory in many other ballets, classical and modern, it is their “Don Q” that everyone wants to see them dance – and there were no dissatisfied people in the Coliseum’s full house on Saturday. Like a torpedo, Vasiliev bounded on stage, his line of attack already defined as he shot towards it employing all his force, while demonstrating panther-like softness in his footwork. He soared high, thus enabling himself to do more turns than normal which then ended with a variety of complicated twists. His super speed turns were on the spot and ended slowly, in a perfectly placed position. His partnering was excellent – he knows exactly Natalia’s needs – and his lifts were strong and impressive. But I think that the audience loved him most for his wonderful energy and high spirits. He beamed throughout, gave her an occasional nuzzle, and, along with his outstanding technical skills, proved himself a great comedian with perfect timing. He was having as good a time as we were.

Osipova radiates the joys of dancing. She explodes with life when the music starts and whizzes her way through the most difficult choreography, making it look easy. Her exuberance is infectious and any response from the audience goads her on to more and more tricky steps. She covers the vast stage with space-devouring leaps; she pirouettes so fast that you’d think the friction of her toe shoe would ignite the wooden floor. Her jumps are unbelievable – so high and staying airborne for a seemingly impossible length of time – and her sharp pique turns are taken at such a speed that you gasp when she arrives at her destination. She lived every moment of Kitri, both in the spotlight and when out of it. And she had great fun playing her.

Don Quixote bursts with eclectic action, brimming over with colourful characters, comedy, mime, a toe-tapping score by Minkus and a fast-paced scenario, based on the Cervantes novel. The three act ballet was originally choreographed in 1869 by Marius Petipa, and later restaged by Gorsky in 1902. The Mikhailovsky’s lively and colourful production, premiered last year in St Petersburg, is by Mikhail Messerer, the company’s principal guest ballet master, and member of the famous Messerer ballet dynasty.

Offering a smorgasborg of dancing, the whole company came alive, enthusiastically entering into the action. There were also several individual roles worth mentioning – Kitri’s two friends (Sabina Yapparova and Anna Kuligina) were spirited and dainty; Pavel Maslennikov made a convincing and funny Gamache, the foppish rich nobleman who offers a princely sum for Kitri’s hand; Evgeny Deryabin, in skin-tight white costume, preened and posed with self importance as the toreador, Espada, while his girl friend, Mercedes, (Olga Semyonova), flirted with him, before bouree-ing carefully among the lines of daggers balanced on the ground. There was lusty male gypsy dancing, led by a powerful Alexander Omar, followed by Mariam Ugrekhelidze, who demonstrated her flexibility and dramatic skills as the guitar tossing gypsy girl, torn between the joy of dancing and some unknown sorrow. In the Dream sequence – a classical interlude of dazzling white tutus – the regal and elegant Ekaterina Borchenko danced the role of the Queen of the Dryads, while Veronica Ignateyeva charmingly performed the light-footed Cupid.

Special mention should go to two British “stars” – the large white, sway-backed horse, which bore Don Quixote on stage, and Sancho Panza’s sweet little donkey, which thrived in the spotlight and seemed to be smiling. (Spotted also was a man at-the-ready with a broom and dustpan but he didn’t look like a dancer!)

The orchestra, under conductor Pavel Bubelnikov, set the scenes at an incredible pace and added to the enjoyment of a super evening.