Writer: David Bolger
Director: David Bolger
Reviewer: Tricia O’Beirne
The first scene of David Bolger’s The Wolf and Peter features Conor Linehan, sporting very strange hair, centre stage with his piano. The cast, dancers Wojciech Grudziński, Ivonne Kalter, Jonathan Mitchell, Emma O’Kane and Mateusz Szczerek, perform a playful dance around the piano, which then moves to the side of the stage. The striking yet simple set is revealed: columns of ‘trees’ lit with an eerie green light turn the Town Hall Theatre stage into a dense forest. Peter arrives, with jaunty red hat and stripy jumper, and to the accompaniment of Prokofiev’s familiar music played on piano, he begins to explore the mysterious wood.
His first encounter is with a bird, fantastically costumed in a dinner jacket with curled up tails and a long feathered hat. Next to emerge from the trees is a duck, in yellow PVC with a matching swimming ring, followed by a playful black cat with an alarmingly realistic habit of scratching her ears. As each animal reveals itself they interact with Peter by performing a dance set and these are all beautiful to watch. There are no words spoken, the story throughout is communicated with movement and music. The wolf of course is the star of the show, and when he slinks through the trees to the front of the stage the audience become very animated; he performs a break-dance, to everyone’s amusement, which effectively demonstrates his physical prowess and lupine charm.
Things then turn a little dark in Bolger’s retelling of the story; the duck meets his demise at the hands (or paws) of the wolf and Peter takes revenge, capturing the wolf. The huntsmen arrive, their menacing silhouettes heralding their ‘badie’ status, and the wolf is captured but Peter ultimately comes to his rescue. In the touching final scene the wolf and his family come to thank Peter and dance with him. This production is visually stunning; Monica Frawley’s set and costumes are a delight. Bolger’s story emerges eloquently through the expressive dancing and never feels rushed or forced. This is something different for children and perhaps the very young might be distracted during some of the dance sequences but CoisCéim have produced a wonderful show, full of imagery and movement, which is not to be missed.
Runs until 18th October | Image contributed by CoisCéim Dance Theatre