Writer: Anna Kemp
Adaptor: David Duffy &Andrea Sadler
Reviewer: Vicki Taylor
Dogs Don’t Do Ballet is the delightful story of little Anna and her pirouetting dog, Biff, brought to life through puppetry. Even though the pair loves to dance, Biff is never allowed to join in with Anna’s ballet classes because, as we are reminded throughout, ‘dogs don’t do ballet!’
We are instantly transported into Anna’s ballet class with the entrance of Miss Polly, a bonkers ballet teacher played by Ronnie Le Drew. She’s garishly dramatic and the children love her, especially one tiny voice who mimics her lines with glee. She leads us in some ballet moves and we help her search for unwanted dogs in her classroom; there are some lovely nods to Edna Everage style panto without being gaudy or causing a raucous.
As to be expected with Little Angel Theatre, the real stars of the show are the beautiful puppets Anna and Biff. Designed by Keith Frederick and faithfully based on Sara Ogilvie’s illustrations, they are masterfully brought to life by Andrea Sadler (Anna) and Ronnie Le Drew (Biff). The two actors don’t hide in black clothing or behind screens; the children are encouraged to admire the performance’s creation. The set changes are equally a part of the show, with interval lollies at Swan Lake transforming into an orchestra.
Inclusivity is at the heart of the performance but it isn’t shoved down our throats; it’s in the wonderfully silly premise that a mutt can and should dance, especially at the Royal Ballet. Throughout this Christmas season, when children can become over-excited by too much tinsel, come and see this gentle and yet hilarious show. (There’s an inspired Torvill and Dean dance routine for the adults too, which is always a plus).
Runs until 2nd February 2014.