Touring: reviewed at Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds
Guest reviewer: Dawn Smallwood
Once upon a time a folklore tale called Little Red Riding Hood was written. Today an adaptation of this classic fairytale by Northern Ballet is receiving its world premiere at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds. This production is specifically targeting children, in the form of ballet, movement and drama and is accompanied to Eloise Gynn’s music, played live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia. Little Red Riding Hood is introduced as a “kind and thoughtful little girl who loves her family”.
Northern Ballet’s productions for children are critically acclaimed following sell-out runs and adaptations for CBeebies TV. It is evident with the many families being in attendance that these productions are certainly very popular. The adaptation is a similar retelling of the actual tale which is well known. Northern Ballet has introduced some extra characters; a bear, a fox and a badger; softer touches to the characters especially the Wolf; and some happy outcomes at the end are created.
Set to Marjoke Henrichs’ simple but colourful set, the dancers interpret the adventure simply and dramatically with excellent portrayals of the characters. The interpretation is easily understood and a story sheet is available to everyone on their arrival at the theatre. The dancers work in harmony and Mariana Rodrigues’ choreography and direction solidifies the cast’s collective contribution to this production.
Like many folklore and fairy tales there are often some dark elements however Northern Ballet is targeting children and no doubt would want to keep the story happy and simple and it is obviously so. This 40 minute ballet is received well by the audience and Little Red Riding Hood is an excellent simple short and sweet ballet for children and families alike.