Reviewed by Ann Durrell
Rumpelstiltskin is the third and final part of balletLORENT’s trilogy of Grimm’s fairy tales. The productions are aimed at family audiences, however, as the story of Rumpelstiltskin is quite dark it is recommended for the over 7’s.
BalletLorent aim to improve quality of life for people living in areas of economic and social disadvantage. In each of the areas they are touring they bring in eight children and four adults over 65 to rehearse and perform along with the company.
Act one we meet the King (John Kendall) and Queen (Virginia Scudeletti) madly in love they dance around their land. Everyone is happy; we meet children at the playground full of joy and their elders all basking in happiness and their royals’ joy. Onto the stage enter bounding sheep, at which point I actually let out an ‘awwww’ at the children in some very clever lamb costumes. I have to say I think the lambs could have been my favourite part of the ballet. It does not last, the Queen dies in childbirth leaving the King unable to forge a bond with his new born son, Rumpelstiltskin. Kendall dances the King as if the air has been pushed out of him, hunched over, grief stricken in pain. Eventually his grief drives him to exile his son.
Gavin Coward dances as the youth Rumpelstiltskin. The character is portrayed as an exiled prince, a socially awkward misfit rather than the imp like character Rumplestilskin is often shown as. As he dances he is desperately trying to find a way to forge a relationship with someone, for someone to show him compassion. Watching over him, his mother gives him one gift and that is the ability to turn anything into gold. When the one person who showed him kindness, the shepherd’s daughter, is imprisoned by the King with the task of spinning straw into gold, Rumpelstiltskin takes his opportunity to find a way back into his community.
Manchester based Carol Ann Duffy has been brought in as Scenario Writer and it is narrated by Ben Crompton. The score has been composed by Murray Gold and sets a beautiful haunting soundtrack for the dancers. The costumes reminded me somewhat of an animation or shadow puppet show, perfect for a fairy-tale. All of this together delivers a production with just the right balance of tension throughout.
balletLorent’s Rumplestilskin is clever, beautiful and magical, just the right balance of the darkness of the fairytale and lightness for family entertainment. I am just sorry I didn’t get to see the first two in their trilogy.
For other shows The Lowry in Manchester visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000