by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Anne of Green Gables is one of those stories that will never lose its appeal. She is a charming, feisty orphan who gets into continuous scrapes, but is ultimately trying to do her best.
It’s far from a complex story, but there is a lot going on. Yet, telling the story through the medium of dance seems no simple feat. The London Children’s Ballet have accomplished this phenomenally. Director Ruth Brill ensures all children have a significant role to play, with different ages and abilities involved in multiple scenes.
Gus Nicholson’s music is uplifting and serene, with subtle drama in select places that helps support the story. Elin Steele’s costumes allow us to be immersed in the period, whilst still admiring the footwork and poise of the children. Andrew McNicol has created a beautiful ballet, ensuring the choreography shows off the skills and prowess of every dancer. All teachers can be very proud of their pupils.
As this is a company of children there is no pointe work, but this does not hinder the young cast, who are exceptionally talented. It’s a real joy and any child watching could not fail to long for a career on the stage. The beauty and precision of this production is outstanding. Although every child is enjoying themselves, the discipline required to pull off such a performance is incredible.
Anne is delightful to watch, dramatic and graceful but with the humour and mischief we expect. Gilbert too is a lovely performer, and the journey Matthew and Marilla take as their fondness for Anne grows, is clearly shown. The ladies of Avonlea provide additional humour with their love of gossip, and the school children add the innocent freedom of youth.
While the dancing is sublime, the acting is exceptional. The children tell the story through mime and facial expressions, which show us the emotion each is feeling throughout. The finale is unexpected and poignant. Considering the ages of the children, it was a pleasant surprise to see acting and dancing of such a high standard. Many of this cast will surely have exciting careers ahead of them.
Anne of Green Gables – London Children’s Ballet runs through 29 May.
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