This riotous and colourful production had a lot to recommend it. The Rumplestiltskin fairytale was given a new twist, with the title role a more rounded character and sympathetic backstory than in traditional renditions. This was a clever device (with credit to Carol Ann Duffy as Scenario Writer), as the storyline became less about old-fashioned heroes and villains, and more about values such as family, community and embracing difference and diversity. (more…)

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Following the success of Rapunzel and Snow White, award winning balletLORENT returns to Oxford Playhouse with the final show in their trilogy of fairytales, Rumpelstiltskin, directed by Liv Lorent.  Full of action and humour, this emotionally rich story retold by Carol Ann Duffy is set in a rural world of sheep, straw, wool and spinning; where the alchemist Rumpelstiltskin is outcast until he is revealed to be ‘the true prince that he was’.  With choreography by Liv Lorent and the company involving a local intergenerational cast, a score by Doctor Who composer Murray Gold, costumes designed by Michele Clapton (Game of Thrones), narration by actor Ben Crompton, this is dance theatre for 21st Century family audiences.

Phil Eddolls (set design) and Malcolm Rippeth (lighting design) once again join the world class collaborators team, along with associate lighting designer Michael Morgan, to create a visually stunning setting for Rumpelstiltskin.

“It is a thing of magic and beauty, not so much a cautionary tale but one of hope and reconciliation.” David Whetstone, Newcastle Evening Chronicle (*****)

“It’s a fitting, sumptuous and beautifully realised production to bring the five years of the trilogy to its culmination and well deserved the enthusiasm and standing ovation with which it was greeted.” Peter Latham, British Theatre Guide

“Fabulous show – beautiful to watch, wonderful storytelling and choreography; a very special evening..” Northern Stage Audience Member

“I haven’t enjoyed a show so much for a long time. I was delighted and left in tears by your production.” Northern Stage Audience Member

Performances:  Friday 1st June 7.00pm, Saturday 2nd June 2.00pm & 7.00pm

Venue:  Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LW

Tickets:  £10-£21, book online here or call the Box Office on 01865 305305

Duration:  Approximately 1 hour 40 minutes with interval

Age guideline:  7 plus

Find out more about the company and the production here

There are many estimable things about balletLORENT and its goals: a company committed to training young people, even children, in the art of theatre and dance movement; a company of dedicated actors/dancers, some of whom have been members for ten or more years; innovative in commissioning work from other fields within the arts – poets and actors and musicians; able to appreciate the on-going relevance of literary works like fairy tales and the eternal commentary they make on our human condition. These are reasons to admire the company and their undertaking to express through dance what is very often verbally inexpressible.

Till recent film versions, the story of Snow White has found little new expression in art forms since Walt Disney’s 1950s animation. This is a pity. A musical, opera, or ballet would do well to pick up this tale and explore its themes – particularly the knotty relationship that exists between a mother and her daughter or between any older woman and a young woman who is outstripping her with youthful energies, promise, attractiveness. There is also the problem of privilege enjoyed by some women until it becomes exploitative when power is added to that privilege. As with all fairy tales, there are innumerable themes woven together under the delightful magic of storytelling. (more…)

Oxford Playhouse welcomes balletLORENT’s dance theatre adaptation of the well-loved Brother’s Grimm fairytale Snow White.  Known for their fantastical and visually stunning productions, leading UK dance company balletLORENT present this new work charged with emotion through haunting music and exquisite storytelling.  Reimagined through dance and music, Director and Choreographer Liv Lorent brings to life Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s masterful writing creating a visually powerful performance.

A mirror names, and ultimately curses, a beautiful young woman, ‘the fairest of them all’, throwing her mother into a jealous rage. Fleeing from those set to capture her, Snow White stumbles across seven miners deep in the forest, hoping to forge a new life away from fear. A captivating tale with all the classic elements: red apples, magical mirrors and the Evil Queen. (more…)

On Sunday 5th May I joined a long queue outside Oxford’s New Theatre; lots of little girls, many in pastel princess dresses and net petticoats, with their mothers.  Inside the auditorium much excitement finding seats, fidgeting to get comfy, sweets and fruit drinks, plastic tiara and fluffy glow wand merchandise.  For this was one of a weekend clutch of performances of My First Cinderella, English National Ballet’s latest initiative to catch a new young and family audience.

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Opening picture – adults and children playing with big white and red balls, a big metal tree, white long ropes, children dancing a maypole dance.

The stage set for Rapunzel of tall iron railings is dominant throughout the whole piece with clever variations of the same set to create different scenes and atmospheres. That concept is introduced right at the beginning. Aesthetic to look at one moment, restricting and dark the next, there is effective play with black and white shades of the metal by the lighting design. (more…)

From the company behind the magical Underneath the Floorboards, comes this stunning new adaptation of the classic Grimm fairy-tale, Rapunzel by company balletLORENT.  Written by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and choreographed by award-winner Liv Lorent, this enchanting new production combines beautiful movement, stunning costumes and original music.  A family show for all children aged 7 and over, Rapunzel tells the story of the wicked witch who tricks a mother to give up her child and the handsome prince who rescues the girl.  Ten young people from the local community have been chosen to dance on stage alongside the professional cast in the opportunity of a lifetime. (more…)