Peter and the Wolf - Birmingham Royal Ballet

A performance that pushes the capabilities of ballet further. 

Peter and the Wolf - Birmingham Royal Ballet

Since a young age, I had always wanted to get involved in ballet. I found the movement and the storytelling inspirational, and its ability to transcend words and deliver a narrative without dialogue intriguing. Although my path led me a different way, I still hold a love for ballet, and so when I had the opportunity to see ‘Peter and the Wolf’ at Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury, I grabbed the chance.

The performance was split into two different narratives. The first performance, called ‘Seasons in Our World’, contained a lot of unusual and transfixing choreography that, for me, pushed the capabilities of ballet further than I believed possible. The minimalistic stage accompanied by the basic, yet elegant costumes ensured that all of the focus was on the dancers, and only added to the performance. However, whilst I found it very enjoyable, I did not initially grasp the concept of the narrative and struggled to understand the story they were attempting to tell. After the show, I discovered that the narrative being delivered was exploring the relationship between the changing seasons and individual lives. I believe that if the story has to be explained in the show’s pamphlet then it takes something away from the performance, and, as I looked around in the intermission, I saw many people questioning the story behind the performance. The performance was excellent regardless, with first-class dancing and emotive execution.

The second half was the show of ‘Peter and the Wolf’, with choreography by Ruth Brill. This was much easier to understand, and I thought it teetered on a dangerous line of explaining the narrative and being condescending to audiences. Whilst I understand that many young children attend ballet performances, from an adult perspective, I perceived the voiceover to be somewhat patronising to older audiences. The overall story was simple and innocent, with a very straightforward storyline. What a difference between the first and second performance! The first I found difficult to understand, and the second was so well explained it was impossible not to grasp the narrative voice. The dancing brilliantly accompanied the story, the timing was perfectly synchronised, and the aspects of comedy really hit a chord with the audience.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable night, and although aspects of it were problematic from an adult perspective, I can appreciate that it is mindful of including anyone of any age and is a great family night out that will inspire children to pursue ballet, and which will entertain adults. For a fun family night out, I would definitely recommend it!

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Sophie Rogers

Sophie Rogers Local Reviewer

A third-year English Literature student at the University of Chester.

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