IT'S not hard to imagine Nijinsky's Faun lurking in the wings, sniffing the sex-charged air and wondering if he could slip on-stage, among the hot bodies intertwining in a rush of athletic lust.

A century separates Nijinsky's L'Apres-midi d'un faune from Mark Baldwin's What Wild Ecstasy – premiered this week at His Majesty's – but there's no mistaking the driving animal instincts that ripple through both pieces.

Nijinsky's exotic Faun aroused furore in 1912 to Debussy's mesmerisingly lush score. Baldwin's posse, in briefest party pulling gear was greeted with cheers, for the rather larky way they played their mating games to the thrumming, rutting impulses of Gavin Higgins's score.

Higgins's music has streaks of menace as well as mischief, and Baldwin's choreography unerringly matches both strands. Overhead, three huge insects silently reminded us that "bees do it..." The final shower of (heavy duty) yellow pollen is a honey of a visual gag.

Before What Wild Ecstasy, there was a revival of the Rambert version of Nijinsky's choreography with Dane Hurst's Faun conjuring into life all those familiar iconic images: the body-profile kept precise, like a two-dimensional bas-relief and the hint of feral urges kept, somehow, delicately erotic – but still alarming enough to scatter the nymphs.

The raked angle of the stage meant Tim Rushton's Monolith was, for safety reasons, minus its huge pillars. This edged the choreography more towards abstraction, but emphasised the clean, fierce beauty of the movement.

Mark Baldwin's beguiling celebration of child's play, Seven for a secret, never to be told was an opening highpoint, with Robin Gladwin in fine mercurial form, cutting loose on the crest of imaginary adventures.