Since 2012 Northern Ballet has collaborated with pre-school channel CBeebies to bring traditional tales – Ugly Duckling, Three Little Pigs and Elves & the Shoemaker – to the stage and screen. The results were captivating for children and adults alike, and exposed a new generation to ballet in a way that is relevant to them.
This year, despite not collaborating with CBeebies, Northern Ballet continues its successful run with Tortoise and the Hare, which visited the Dukes Theatre, Lancaster, 9 April.
Adults were outnumbered in the full auditorium for the 6pm showing and little viewers oohed and aahed audibly throughout, which made for an exciting atmosphere. It was welcomed by the dancers, who had brilliant comic timing and expression, keeping the room bubbling with fun throughout the 40-minute show. The choreography, by Sabastian Loe, contained a magical mix of slapstick and traditional elegance, and the costumes and set design, by Ali Allen, were vibrant and meticulously detailed.
It’s rare to find a children’s theatre show that is really accessible to all ages but isn’t unbearable for accompanying adults. It might have taken it a while to get there, but Northern Ballet wins first prize.