Wednesday, 06 July 2022

Traditional ballet story with more ‘girl power’

Traditional ballet story with more ‘girl power’

A LITTLE treat for all budding ballet dancers to enjoy is coming to Henley this weekend.

Let’s All Dance’s production of The Princess and the Pea has been tweaked slightly so that while it is a still traditional, there is also more “girl power”.

In the story, a prince is in search of a bride and his mother is keen to ensure he finds a real princess.

After several months, the prince has yet to find anyone that he likes.

Then one stormy night, a young woman claiming to be a princess turns up at the palace with wet hair and bedraggled clothes from being outside.

The queen submits her to a sensitivity test to see if she really is a princess — will she notice a tiny pea wedged in her bed for the night, placed below 20 mattresses?

Artistic director and producer Orit Sutton says: “We’ve updated it a little bit. The princess is a little bit more feisty and the prince doesn’t really care if she’s a princess or not.

“He just falls in love with her and wants to marry her, which is how it should be nowadays.

“But the queen’s still adamant and does the whole test with the pea, which works and the princess is proved to be a real one.”

The ballet features dancers Sam Rodulfo as the princess, Syanne Day as the queen and James Aiden Kay as the rince with choreography by Fran Mangiacasale.

The company blends elegant dancing, beautiful costumes and a clear narrative so that families and children aged from two to 14, including those with special needs, will be enthralled. The show offers a great message to never judge a book by its cover.

Orit says that the current tour of The Princess and the Pea has proved timely.

“We were asked to be part of the jubilee celebrations in Greenwich, which is our local area,” she says.

“The council said, ‘Have you got anything that suits a jubilee theme?’ Luckily, we were touring this production this year anyway and it just worked perfectly.

“We did an outside version, which was challenging but quite fun as it was very windy.”

The show is particularly aimed at little ones.

Orit says: “It is a sweet little tale and the show lasts 40 minutes — like all our productions, we shorten them so that our young audiences are engaged for the whole thing. We tour it around and we try to keep the prices very accessible as we know families have not got a huge amount of spare cash at the moment.”

The ballet company will be familiar to some theatre-goers.

Orit says: “We come to the Kenton every year at Christmas with The Nutcracker, which sells very well. We always do a little photo session after the shows, so the children can come up on stage and meet our dancers and parents can take a picture.”

The Princess and the Pea is at the Kenton Theatre, Henley, on Sunday at 1pm and 3pm. The show has a running time 40 minutes with no interval. Tickets cost £15.50 adults, £13.50 seniors, students and children. For more information, call the box office on (01491) 525050 or visit www.kentontheatre.co.uk

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