Peter and the Wolf, Seasons in our World, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
Birmingham Royal Ballet bring the children's story of Peter and the Wolf bang up to date in this charming and delightful family-friendly ballet by rising star choreographer Ruth Brill.
The 30 minute production has wisely kept Sergei Prokofiev's familiar music, superbly performed by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Philip Ellis, but has updated the setting from pastoral Russia to a funky urban backdrop with assorted characters in baseball cap, sneakers, tracksuit bottoms and hoody.
The tree in which various animals escape from the wolf is turned into scaffolding and a shopping trolley is wheeled around. The recorded narration by Holly McNish is defiantly not posh.
So far it may sound off-putting for traditionalists but actually it works very well indeed, including having Peter played by a female dancer (Petra and the Wolf?).
The elfin Laura Day is excellent as the resourceful youngster who saves most of his/her animal friends from the big bad wolf.
Tzu-Chao Chou brought a cheeky chirpiness to the role of Bird, Samara Downs was suitably feline and slinky as Cat and Alys Shee had a fine cameo as the ill-fated Duck, who falls foul of the Wolf (Mathias Dingman).
Colourful with imaginative choreography, it would make a perfect introduction to ballet for youngsters.
The first half of the programme (also 30 minutes), Seasons in our World, choreographed by BRB members or alumni (Laura Day, Lachlan Monaghan and Kit Holder) was danced to elemental music as it told the story of the seasons through human connections from first love to the loss of your partner. Samara Downs and Yasou Atsuji's final pas de deux had real emotional impact.
Birmingham Royal Ballet next take this double bill on tour to Wolverhampton Grand Theatre on Friday and Saturday, May 24 and 25. Dance fans should wolf it down.