Ballet: Snow White leads the Wicked Queen a fine dance at Sadler’s Wells

20:25 11 May 2012

Snow White at London

Snow White at London's Sadler's Wells

Sadler's Wells PR

The most famous Snow White I know is the Disney cartoon version, writes Allis Moss.

That is—until last night (Thurs, May 10).

Now at last we have a ballet of the Brothers Grimm’s take on an older woman’s jealousy of a younger rival.

The fairy story performed at Sadler’s Wells (tonight and last night Saturday, May 12) oozes Gallic charm, flair and invention, as it is the adaptation of one of France’s most revered choreographers, Angelin Preljocaj.

Magical sets by Thierry Leproust range from eerie, mythical, stag-haunted forests thrilling to the distant sound of tinkling bells to a rock-face dotted with caves from which dancers appear, abseiling in an aerial display. We almost don’t know what plane we’re on—the vertical or the horizontal.

The ballet, set to Gustav Mahler’s stirring symphonies, features all the hallmarks of the original yarn.

There’s a giant all-seeing mirror, a prince who raises his beloved from her glass coffin and, among the best of all, a feisty tussle where the Wicked Queen forcibly feeds Snow White that rosy apple.

The costumes from no-less a fashion icon than Jean Paul Gaultier will perhaps excite extreme reactions, with the evil Queen decked out as a black leather-clad dominatrix and our heroine in virginal thigh-and-buttock-revealing white. Her simple but sensual robe may have distracted many a male eye in the audience.

A review in the French newspaper ‘Le Monde’ appreciated the jumps, neat splits, whirling arms and multiple changes of directions—and so should we.

There are other treasures in this Ballet Preljocaj production, such as Serjio Diaz as the Prince trying desperately to awaken his ragdoll-like Princess, Virginie Caussin. Both danced brilliantly.

But many in the audience at last night’s UK premiere were forced to miss a great tranche of the performance.

The reason? Chaos caused by the Northern Line being suspended by an apparently faulty signal and a bus diversion for some that seem to have taken the scenic route via Timbuktu.

But if your destination is Ballet Preljocaj’s Snow White, there will at least be a happy ending.

Snow White, Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, near The Angel. Last night: Saturday, May 12. Tickets: £12-£38.

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