QUAYS News entertainment reporter Elise Hughes was at The Lowry watching Snow White on Saturday (December 5), this is what she made of it…

Snow White is one of the most famous and popular fairy tales among children across the world. It channels themes of vanity, jealousy, revenge and self-criticism. Retold by Carol Ann Duffy, her chilling and eerie adaptation lies more true to the original story written by The Brothers Grimm in 1812 in which Snow White’s own mother sends for her to be killed due to her insane jealousy of Snow White’s beauty.

Directed and choreographed by Liv Lorent dance company, Ballet LORENT brought this enchanting tale to life through majestic and acrobatic stylised movement at the Lowry Theatre in Salford on both December 5 and 6, and left the audience in awe.

As the show begins, the audience are able to feast their eyes upon Phil Eddoll’s simplistic, yet dark and versatile set design. Nothing other than what appeared to be a dressing table could be seen on stage, amongst the symbolic mirror that represents the vanity and obsession that drives the tragedy later in the tale.

The versatility of this set design was discovered throughout the play, when the cast would move the dressing table to then transform the set into woods, and then later into a home for the miners.

Each set piece was mystical and almost sinister through its plain colours of black and grey, combined with Malcom Rippeth’s dim and smokey lighting that helped set the atmosphere and mirrored the darkness of the tale.

Eddoll’s set and Rippeth’s lighting were both equally important elements to the production. The set did not only signal a scene change, it was also used as a platform upon which the cast would climb and dance upon throughout. Rippeth’s lighting was significant when portraying themes and allowing Gwen Berwick who played the mirror to appear behind a veil as the Queen’s reflection.

There is also no question that the production’s sound did not contribute towards the ambience, with composer Murray Gold producing some wondrous theatrical sounds that reflected all manner of emotions, from love to jealousy, and loss to rejoice.

The cast involved were talented and highly trained dancers who had trained in professional schools from the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance to The Urdang Academy.

The character of Snow White was played by Natalie Trewinnard who had previously played the title role in Ballet LORENT’s production of Rapunzel. Trewinnard was joined by the other main cast members, Caroline Reece, Gavin Coward and Berwick who played the Queen, the Huntsman and the Mirror, who were all central to the story and the themes of the tale.

In addition to the main cast, many of the ensemble consisted of local six to nine-year-olds who were offered an audition, which the company will be continuing to offer to all local children in each location they tour.

As well as the cast’s consistent use of physical theatre, the production was also narrated by Olivier award-winning actress Lindsay Duncan, whose voice was the only one to be heard. Duncan experimented with voices, using a higher pitch and a croaky tone when imitating an old pedlar-woman, ‘Pretty things for sale, very cheap, very cheap’.

One of the more memorable scenes was Snow White’s awakening and the marriage of her and The Huntsman. Costume designer Libby Everall illustrated an extremely long, oversized captivating wedding dress for the title role. The dress was so long that it covered the space of the entire stage, so much so that the young dancers could sit underneath it as it floated over them through a magical breeze. This dress and Snow White’s forgiveness for her mother made for an enchanting scene that left the audience in admiration.

Duffy tweaked and changed some aspects of the traditional tale with added humorous lines such as ‘queen, your beauty is a gift from scissors, surgery, face-lift…’ making the audience crack up and additionally referencing to our modern day obsession with perfecting our appearance.

Overall, Ballet LORENT produced a magical performance that effortlessly told a classic, well-known tale through physical theatre and a gifted cast of dancers. Lorent’s choreography and direction told a story of vanity and obsession versus love and acceptance and allowed an audience to see a different style of drama than they may have usually seen. A must-see production, and something different for those theatre newbies.

By: Elise Hughes
@elisexhughes

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