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I try not to have favourites but I do have a very soft spot for Ballet Cymru. On Saturday night Gita (my colleague on Team Terpsichore) and I were the company's guest at the Riverfront Theatre in Newport for the launch of the company's summer tour. This year they are taking two ballets round the country:

  • Roald Dahl's Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs; and
  • Romeo a Juliet.

Both works were created by Darius James and Amy Doughty. The first marks the centenary of Roald Dahl's birth in Wales and the second the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

The show I saw on Saturday was Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs which is dance with narrative based on two of Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes. It is a ballet that is suitable for children (and there were many in the auditorium) but it also appeals to adults.

The central character in both ballets was Little Red Riding Hood danced appealingly by Lydia Arnoux but she was supported strongly by Mark Griffiths as the narrator, Andrea Battagia as the wolf, Robbie Moorcroft and the rest of the cast which included four promising young dancers, one of whom is actually Welsh.

The recruitment of those four young dancers shows a growing self-confidence in the company which will manifest itself in a performance of Little Red Riding Hood at the massive Millennium Centre with the entire National Orchestra of Wales on 4 Dec 2016.

It was a long and difficult drive to Newport from the North on Saturday through driving rain, poor visibility and dangerous surface water but the show was well worth it.

If anyone is interested I reviewed the show yesterday and wrote a preview on 28 April 2016.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I caught up with this hard working small company at the Roses Treatre, Tewksbury, in their production of Roald Dahl's Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs. I saw the production four years ago and I had fond memories of it. There seemed to be some new bits in it from the last time; Darius James has been known to revise productions.

There are some really good laughs in this. It's really a ballet for children and they love the toilet humour. I did too! If you are planning to see this, I'm afraid that you're just going to have to put up with young children being loud. There is some lovely dance too. You have to really concentrate to catch some of the steps. Generally in ballet, a sequence will be repeated, so if you think "oo that was nice" you can really pick out the details on the reprise. There are no repeats in James's choreography, so you might miss out.

The combination of dancing and narration is not an obvious one but it works very well in this production. Let's be honest, without the narration it would really work all that well. The visual jokes are funny and always drew a big laugh, and Dahl's writing guarentees a laugh.

There are ten dancers in the company, and there appear to be five new ones from last years lineup. This is the 18th consequetive year that I have seen the company and long may they continue to delight and entertain.

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