Director: David Bolger
Choreographer: David Bolger
Composition: Conor Linehan (with additional music by Sergei Prokofiev)
Reviewer: David Doyle
For 20 years now CoisCéim Dance Theatre has been enthralling audiences, and its latest production, The Wolf And Peter, marks a new venture for the company with its first production aimed at families. Utilising one of the most famous pieces of music ever written, the company offers a new take on a story that has been worked and reworked for decades and, in doing so, finds something new and hugely impressive.
The show follows Peter as he attempts to escape the stifling boredom of his grandfather’s house and explore the forest to play with the animals that inhabit it. Then, of course, the Wolf, played by Mateusz Szczerek, turns up. He’s a little different perhaps to the traditional wolves that dwell in the depths of fairy tale forests, as this one, much to the delight of the younger members of the audience, likes breakdancing. What follows is a tender exploration of the changing relationship between the Wolf and Peter.
At the heart of the production are some truly splendid performances from the ensemble of Wojciech Grudziñski, Ivonne Kalter, Jonathan Mitchell, Emma O’Kane, and Mateusz Szczerek. They craft a complex story with only a smattering of dialogueand showcase some beautiful, and endearing moments of dance. The performers are joined on stage by Conor Linehan who accompanies them on the piano with his own composition, which offers both familiarity and freshness.
As well as wonderful performances, the production showcases some wonderful design. Monica Frawley’s set and costumes help create a rich and vibrant world. The design is enhanced by Sinéad McKenna’s lighting which illuminates the ever-shifting realms of the forest. The combination and interplay of Frawley and McKenna’s design offers a sumptuous backdrop to the piece, and also helps create a complex and visually engaging world, something all too often neglected in theatre for younger audiences.
Creating theatre for families is a real challenge. You have to balance material that appeals to the younger audience members with material for adults and that’s what CoisCéim have done so well in this production. There really is something for everyone in The Wolf And Peter, from splendid performancesto stunning design, and some beautiful music. Often thought of as a challenging medium, this is a truly accessible and thoroughly enjoyable piece of contemporary dance theatre.
Reviewed on 5 November 2015 | Image: CoisCéim Dance Theatre