Friday, 2 December 2016

Little Red Riding Hood comes to London

Little Red Riding Hood
Photo John Bishop
(c) 2016 Ballet Cymru: all rights reserved
Reproduced wth kind permission of the company

Ballet Cymru, Little Red Riding Hood and Three Little Pigs, Sadler's Wells, 29 Nov 2016

David Murley

Ballet Cyrmu, a jewel-box of a ballet company, recently performed their production of Roald Dahl’s Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Pigs. Based in Newport, Wales, the company came to London and put the fairy tale inspired show on at the Lilian Baylis Studio Theatre at Sadler’s Wells from the 28th – 30th November 2016. The performance was perfect in length, not too long or too short. To add, the spectacle goes down a treat with both children and adults alike.

First on the bill for the evening was Little Red Riding Hood. Keeping true to the ‘Revolting Rhymes’ of Welsh author Dahl, the company members execute James’s and Doughty’s choreography with acute precision while maintaining vivid characterisations. Integrating complex footwork and maintaining a high level of animation to sustain characterization is a skill. It takes a lot of energy and concentration – something the dancers of Ballet Cymru have made to seem effortless. There were moments in the enchaînements of the Sprites and Little Red Riding Hood herself where the sequences of dance appeared to be a marathon of endless steps. However, the dancers blazed through the plentiful choreography, again, seamlessly staying in character. 

The technicality of the female dancer’s footwork – especially the use of the metatarsals, particularly amongst the female Sprites in Little Red Riding Hood was noticeably articulate and crisp. From a technical dance point of view, this was exceptionally pleasing to watch. Keep up the good work, ladies! 

Spanish company Artist Anna Pujol portrayed a likeable, empowered, no-nonsense and even glamorous Little Red Riding Hood. Pujol has sass and class. There were moments speckled throughout the piece when she was a budding Cyd Charisse. English Narrator Mark Griffiths, who trained in Canada, finds himself back in the UK in Ballet Cymru after performing with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. His solid and robust North American training was evident in his double saut de basques and strong jump. Not only did Griffiths exemplify strong and confident dancing abilities, but he excelled in the role as Narrator. Griffiths was able to speak clearly, audibly and enunciate with clarity that was easy on the ear. To add, Griffiths’s displayed a propensity to chop and change accents as he voiced over the different characters in Dahl’s story. 

After a short interval, the programme continued with Dahl’s The Three Little Pigs. It was refreshing to see some of the other company members given a chance to shine. Rockstar Big Bad Wolf, played by Australian Dylan Waddell, was positively hammy, nimble and authentic. He was consistent throughout, technically and character-wise. Waddell has a genuine stage presence. 

The staging of the Three Little Pigs' houses was simply adorable. Anyone who has kids, or occasionally cries during films will most certainly have a hearty chuckle as the wolf huffs and puffs and blows their houses down. Again, kudos to Spanish dancer Pujol for re-entering as Little Red Riding Hood, this time with a towel on her head and looking simply divine. 

The company of dancers at Ballet Cymru appear to be a strong and tight-knit community within themselves. There appears to be a supportive camaraderie amongst them, which is essential in maintaining a healthy and successful group of dancers. I wish them well, and look forward to seeing the group again soon. They were a pleasure to watch. 

Ballet Cyrmu next head to Cardiff where they will be putting on their production of Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs. The company will perform on the main stage of the Millennium Centre with a full 72-piece symphony orchestra on the 4th December 2016. Ballet Cymru is the first dance company to perform Dahl’s story set to composer’s Paul Patterson’s colourful and vibrant score. All the best to the company in Cardiff. The evening will undoubtedly be an enchanting one.

1 comment:

  1. It was a joyful evening of laughs and awe at the abilities of the dancers.