ARTHUR Pita’s, The Little Match Girl, came to the Lowry Theatre in Salford earlier today as the Christmas season comes to an end. Quays News entertainment reporter Molly Jacobsen went along…

Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story and following the sell-out season at Sadler’s Wells last year, Salford were treated to the touching story of a disadvantaged young street girl’s hopes through the medium of outstanding song, dance and new music.

Corey Claire Annand returns to her role as the little match girl, Fiammetta, being joined by fellow original cast members Valentina Golfieri, Frank Moon and Angelo Smimmo, with Faith Prendergast, Karl Fagerlund Brekke and Nuno Queimado playing alternating characters.

A snow filled stage set the scene for a cold, frosty Christmas eve, where a young girl paces the streets trying to sell matches. The short performance was filled with phenomenal dancing and heartwarming moments.

Upon entering the theatre, we were greeted with one of the five cast members, Frank Moon, playing music and recording himself on a pedalboard. The music filled the small theatre, setting the scene for the play, starting off exciting and enthusiastic then turning dark and gloomy.

As the lights went down for the start of the performance, silence filled the theatre making us wonder what was to come. A single spotlight shone on the live musician as movement started on stage. The simple set, which consisted of small wooden houses and a snowy streetlamp, was lit with what looked like the moon which hung in the back.

The minimalistic set and next to no talking made us concentrate on the dancing which was being performed throughout. The cast were able to make us go on a journey of emotions just by using the medium of dance. Starting off fun filled, the audience were able to share in the uplifting moments in which Fiammetta and the lamp man, played by Karl Fagerlund Brekke, shared.

However, the sense of happiness did not last long as the little girl was met by her rivals, selling matches on the same streets as her. In what we can call a dance off, we see Fiammetta and the match boys ‘fight’ against each other when trying to sell matches. The audience couldn’t not feel a sense of pity for the young girl at the end of this as she was tied to the streetlamp and all her belongings, from her shoes to the one gold coin she had, stolen.

Moving quickly on, the little match girl was able to free herself, this is when we saw, for the second time the Donnarumma family take to the stage, celebrating Christmas.

Fiammetta faced a series of challenges with the family when trying to sell them matches. As we say now, they were having none of it and kept turning her away. That is until she burns the house down, making their Christmas day as gloomy as her own. This ended up being a chase scene. The audience could only hope that Fiammetta would escape but our hopes were not fulfilled.

She, the little match girl, was finally caught by Angelica Maria Donnarumma – who beat her until she was vulnerable. Holding back the hatred, we watched in fear as she stole the young girls remaining matches and burnt them in front of her.

Holding back the tears we watched Fiammetta wander to her Grandma’s grave where eventually and sadly she was left with nothing but a few matches, this was when the cold caught her out, but she was taken on a journey to the moon by the spirit of her beloved Grandma.

The audience were finally treated to some happiness as the Fiammetta was returned to her Grandma and away from the cold nights. She can now look upon the earth from the distant, shining moon.

Now, from planet earth, if you look closely you may be able to see the light of a shooting star, or it may even be a match burning brightly.

By: Molly Jacobsen

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