What if Prokofiev’s much-loved 1936 symphonic children’s fairy tale was rewritten by an animal activist? What if Peter felt such guilt after having the wolf locked in the zoo that he returned to free it?
Peter and the Wolf is given new life in this magnetic production by Ireland’s CoisCeim’s Dance Theatre, with kinetic choreography, radiant lighting design and a moral, comic twist.
Against a minimal but striking set design of green poles, the action unfolds: a petulant and puckish Peter is so bored in the confines of his farm that he escapes into the forest outside. Here, without human companions to play with, he befriends the wildlife: a gormless, friendly duck, a pompous, genteel bird, a flirty, manipulative cat, and then grumpy old grandfather arrives encased in a grandfather clock ticking like a metronome. In one particularly hilarious scene the cat instructs her willing servants to serve her dinner at the table as she plonks her face greedily into a glass of milk.
But the coolest cat of all is the beat-boxing, breakdancing wolf, whose mercurial moves and sideways smile could win over any fervent wolf-hater. Each character is so beautifully portrayed, not just by each dancer’s idiosyncratic style and expressions but by the quirky, endearing costumes.
The live score is a provided by a mad professor-type sporting a giant green bow tie on a piano with all its inner workings exposed. He plays Prokofiev’s classic score, which is mixed with some recorded strings and ambient noodlings for a fresh sound.
Selling contemporary dance to a young audience is no easy feat, but with very little dialogue The Wolf and Peter manages to do just that. Unfortunately it ran for only a weekend at the Arts Centre, but hopefully it will return again to entice audiences young and old into Peter’s forest.
CoisCéim Dance Theatre
THE WOLF AND PETER
Director David Bolger
Venue: Arts Centre, Melbourne VIC
Dates: 29 – 30 June 2017
Bookings: 9281 8582 | www.artscentremelbourne.com.au
Venue: Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith NSW
Dates: 6 – 7 July 2017
Bookings: 4723 7600 | www.thejoan.com.au
Venue: Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW
Dates: 12 – 20 July 2017
Bookings: 9250 7770 | www.sydneyoperahouse.com