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Dogs Don’t Do Ballet

Published Monday 10 December 2012 at 10:55 by Susan Elkin

If you see only one children’s Christmas show this month then it should be this witty, charming, engaging piece of miniature theatre. It’s billed for age two to six, but there is, please note, no upper age limit.

Biff, depicted by various puppets, is a chubby little dog who pefers ballet to doggy pursuits like chasing sticks or sniffing round lamp posts. The little girl he lives with - also a puppet - sympathises but it’s difficult to take Biff to her ballet classes or to a Royal Opera House performance because, as everyone keeps telling her: dogs don’t do ballet.

All the puppet manipulation and the many non-puppet roles fall to Ronnie Le Drew and Andrea Sadler. Le Drew is a delight as the overblown, overbearing elderly ballet teacher in red velvet with silver curls and a deliciously Edna Everage camp voice. He also brings Biff beautifully to life, among other roles. Andrea Sadler whose voice work is outstanding, has fun as the put upon piano accompanist and the northern father of the little girl. Outstanding work from both of them.

Poignancy - we hear snatches of Tchaikovsky, Delibes, Scott Joplin, Hertel, Prokofiev and more - alternates with hilarity borne of the incongruity of it all. And underlying all this, of course, is a gentle message for 2012 about stereotyping and preclusion. Why shouldn’t a dog do ballet if he wants to? David Duffy is the technical manager at Little Angel. This is his first outing as a director. It won’t be the last.

Production information

Little Angel Theatre, London, December 9-January 27

Anna Kemp and Sara Oglivie (original book), David Duffy and Andrea Sadler (adaptation)
David Duffy
Little Angel Theatre
Ronnie Le Drew, Andrea Sadler
Running time:
45 mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014