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Ballet Cymru review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘bright and buoyant’

Spirited young company Ballet Cymru celebrate the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth with two lively tales from Revolting Rhymes, the Cardiff-born storyteller’s collection of re-imagined fairytales. Both adaptations, Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs, honour Dahl’s penchant for parody and the grotesque.

Paul Patterson’s score is free-ranging, bright and buoyant, with comic touches of Beethoven, snatches of swing and a resounding brass flatulence for the wolf, his tail raised perkily, post-consumption of grandma. The latter (vigorously played by Robbie Moorcroft) isn’t a sweet old nana, but a coarse drunk in soiled skirts and a bonnet who lurches about to an off-kilter waltz. Her house, decorated with booze bottles, is conjured up by a simple, jagged pair of walls, complemented by a foliage-printed backdrop.

Anna Pujol is a charismatic Red Riding Hood, rounding off her high-kicking phrases with triumphant little fist pumps and a sassy stance. Steve Denton has fun with the costumes – Riding Hood’s capacious bloomers conceal the pistol with which she dispatches both lupine villains, and by the time she’s called upon to help flamboyant, flamenco-stomping Spanish pig Senor Puerco (Miguel Fernandes) she’s morphed from pink-frocked girl to vampish moll in a cerise shower cap, hips wiggling with glee at the prospect of some more sharp-shooting.

Among a range of fine comic performances, Gwenllian Davies catches the eye both as prissy, prancing tweed-clad pig Miss Twix and as a gormless sheep in a bobble hat. Overall it’s a fitting tribute to Dahl’s darkly comic creations.

 

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Verdict
Engaging, imaginative ballet adaptations of Roald Dahl entertain adults and children alike

Production

Venue
Sadler's Wells
City
London
Starts
November 28, 2016
Ends
November 29, 2016
Press night
November 28, 2016
Composer
Paul Patterson
Choreographer
Darius James, Amy Doughty
Set
Steve Denton
Lighting
Chris Illingworth, Ceri Benjamin
Sound
Mike Holden
Technical
Mike Holden (technical manager), Ceri Benjamin (lighting technician and re-lighting)
Cast includes
Mark Griffiths, Anna Pujol, Andrea Maria Battaggia, Miguel Fernandes, Gwenllian Davies, Robbie Moorcroft, Dylan Waddell, Natalie Debono, Ann Wall, Krystal Lowe
Producer
Ballet Cymru, Riverfront Theatre
Running time
1hr 20mins