Snow White reimagines the well-loved story of a mother’s poisonous jealousy, exploring thwarted desire, deception, compassion and redemption with magical mirrors, mysterious miners and beauty as pure as feathered snow.
The Festival Theatre transformed last weekend for the second instalment of balletLORENT’s fairy-tale trilogy, Snow White. Retold by Carol Ann Duffy it follows the Brother Grimm’s traditional telling where it is the mother who succumbs to jealousy of her daughter’s beauty and plots to destroy her. The emphasis on this production was the loss and despair that many woman experience as they grow older losing the beauty they associated with youth. However there was actually too much emphasis on this loss of beauty and there was never any resolution at the end of the show to show the audience that beauty changes and evolves it doesn’t dissipate as implied. Older woman are still beautiful!
It was definitely aimed towards children which would explain the use of the narrative voice throughout the performance. However ballet traditionally does not need to use any voice and it just further added to the conclusion that the show was not really ballet. Although not a ballet expert one knows that there are a set number of movements that constitute ballet – this performance only had one such ballet sequence with the Mirror dancer though it did manage to retain some of the grace from ballet. The rest of the show was contemporary and quite unsettlingly choreographed. There was not enough flow to the piece, each scene change was disjointed and unlinked. It felt overly simplified, advertised as a family piece, it was too childish and there was not enough for the adult to like. The beat and rhythm appeared off at many opportunities and some of the dancing unfortunately failed to impress and command the stage.
The mother (Caroline Reece) was convincing as a beautiful woman falling prey to insecurity and after being rejected from a beautiful king who she has fallen in love with, becomes sour and bitter. Her anger turns towards Snow White (Natalie Trewinnard) and she asks her plain huntsman to kill her daughter. The casting of the huntsman is unusual, an older man who paints a fatherly figure and whose movement is far more masculine and rough than the other. Unusual and diverse casting is something balletLorent is renowned for. The rest of the cast was interesting to watch and the choreography for the miners was definitely one of the highlights of the evening – normal sized miners but with erratic jerky dance movements which really brought them to life on stage. It was definitely one of the highlights of the evening and one of the most thought out characterized dances, really conveying their nature.
The set by Phil Eddolls was stunningly compact transforming the stage from a palace to the woods, to the mines. Elegantly beautiful but very practical it was a brilliant addition to the show, the lighting as well deserves a special mention aiding the set piece in changing the scenes. Although enjoyable unfortunately Snow White by balletLorent did fail to meet expectations and there should have been more of an emphasis on the contemporary aspect as it was not really a ballet, although it had some balletic aspects. Snow White is worth a visit if you are interested in dance and retellings of fairytales as it was a very effective interpretation of the traditional fairy tale.