BalletLORENT: Snow White at Sadler’s WellsCultureTheatre
The Brothers Grimm’s magical tale of Snow White has been retold countless times, but BalletLORENT have breathed new life into it by adapting Carol Ann Duffy’s dark and eerie adaptation of the classic story. The poet removes the focus from the dwarves, demotes the prince to a huntsman, and centres the narrative around the complex relationship between mother and daughter. Two shows at Sadler’s Wells mark the end of the company’s national tour, which has doubtless won them many new fans and supporters.
The happily married Queen gives birth to Snow White. The King dies shortly thereafter, and when her daughter becomes a young woman, the lonely widow decides to re-marry. She invites a king from a neighbouring land to her palace and immediately falls in love with him. The man, however, is besotted by Snow White. This distresses the Queen greatly, and she begins to harbour envy and resentment towards her daughter. When the magic mirror confirms that Snow White is indeed the fairest of all, the Queen resorts to drastic measures to regain her self-confidence.
This version of Snow White is no jolly fairly tale. The dwarves are overworked miners and the huntsman, who replaces the prince, is an ordinary man with doubts and imperfections. There are elements of the sinister from beginning to end, but the show is incredibly charming. The dancing is characteristically graceful, but rather than present rigid choreographies, the focus is on the flow of movement. Caroline Reece gives an authoritative performance as the emotionally distraught Queen and Natalie Trewinnard is perfect as the kind-hearted and joyful Snow White.
The set is simple but incredibly effective. One rotating structure with three different faces suffices to create a magical atmosphere. The clever use of lighting and a powerful score by Murray Gold complete the picture and ensure that the audience is fully immersed in the experience. While the darker elements of the tale may seem unsuitable for children, the young members of the audience watched with great interest and appeared to feel as excited as Duffy herself felt as a child when she read fairy tales that took you “to the edge of terror, and pulled you back at the last minute”.
BalletLORENT: Snow White is on at Sadler’s Wells from 25th until 26th March 2016, for further information or to book visit here.