Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas | Northern Ballet | Grand Theatre

The book of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, written in 2006, was adapted into a film just two years later and has become a very well-known story so, after being invited to press night at my local theatre, I was very intrigued to see how the story would work as a ballet. Honestly I was feeling a little sceptical to begin with but I'm so pleased to say that I was proven wrong. It was a truly stunning production, one I'd recommend to all, whether big fans of ballet or not.

There were so many elements to the show that made it enjoyable for me. Primarily, of course, was the dancing which was absolutely beautiful. In the story, the character Bruno is 8 years old, and his light, childish charm easily showed in Kevin Poeung's performance, despite being a fully grown man. The soldiers movements were harsh and angular whereas the prisoners' were slower and looser. I also found the interpretation of The Fury as an abstract, shadowy creature, rather than a human, so interesting and something I'd never have thought of myself. The characterisation throughout was excellent and even if you didn't know the story, it would have been easy to follow.

The music was written specifically for this production and was one of my favourite elements. There were recurring themes to further represent characters, such as the use of low brass for the soldiers and a light, bright melody which accompanied Gretel, Bruno's sister, that sticks in my mind in particular. The use of lighting was very clever, creating different spaces and settings on the stage which, coupled with the use of simple moving set pieces, made for a fascinating watch.

For me this show is true testament to keeping an open mind because I now see why this story is so well-suited to ballet. The tragic themes are enhanced by the emotive movement and it was so enchanting that at times you could have heard a pin drop. I would recommend the show to all ages, as it's a fresh interpretation of a well-known story that was a treat for the eyes and ears. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Wednesday 31st May, before continuing it's tour of the country until October this year. Be sure to check out their website for tickets and more details.


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