Little Red Riding Hood/ The Three Little Pigs, Ballet Cymru, Lilian Baylis Studio Theatre – reviewed on 16th November
Nominated for a 2013 National Dance Award, Ballet Cymru describe themselves as a company who “like to do things a bit differently”. Their current tour covers 21 venues in just ten weeks with only a brief two-night stopover for London’s spoilt-for-choice dance crowd.
At the Lilian Baylis Studio Theatre, the company offers two dramatically different bills. The first uses Welsh-born writer Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes and shows Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs in a light quite distinct from their original fairy tales. The second takes inspiration from leading Welsh artists and musicians with live vocals by Cerys Matthews. As the latter performance clashed with the Royal Ballet’s latest opening night, I was only able to see one incarnation of this Welsh company, but I was most impressed by its choreographic ingenuity and dancer prowess.
In the Dahl double bill, the stage is transformed into a magical forest inhabited by other-worldly creatures and creatively-costumed wolves who prowl and leap. Little Red Riding Hood strides onto stage, flexing her biceps and cartwheeling to display bright pink bloomers. A dancer narrates action via Dahl's clever verse and both choreography and story are funny and inventive throughout. As houses are blown down, masked pigs stamp their feet and girls whip pistols from their knickers, Ballet Cymru’s performance is a delightfully entertaining mix of humour and cunning. My only complaint is that it was over too soon.