Reviewed by Rebecca Wong
Getting an invite to watch the Vienna Festival Ballet’s performance of Snow White at St. Helens Theatre Royal was very exciting. Not only have I never been to a ballet before but my 4-year-old ballerina was to come with me. The icing on the cake was the story. Snow White is such a classic tale of good versus evil and a favourite of ours.
St. Helens Theatre Royal was easy to find with parking close by. The staff were incredibly helpful and it was clear upon arrival that the show is family friendly with lots of mini ballerina’s eagerly awaiting the start in the audience.
I was wondering however, how a story such as Snow White would be conveyed through the medium of dance. The story started with Snow White’s beautiful stepmother who appeared to be a dominating character, in need of assurance of her beauty. She sought constant reassurance from her royal staff, her magical mirror and her love interest the Royal Huntsman. When she was rejected by the Huntsman and her beauty renounced by the magical mirror, the stepmother could not suppress her anger and bitterness and proceeded to banish her stepdaughter from the Kingdom.
The sustained rejection from the Huntsman drove her to send him into the forest to kill Snow White but his love for her was too strong to allow him to do this. Instead Snow White was left to wander the forest meeting forest fairies as well as seven interesting dwarves who entertained her, looked after her and lifted her spirits. But, upon discovering that Snow White was still alive, the evil stepmother decided to take matters into her own hands using a spell to produce a poisoned apple which she fed to Snow White in the guise of an old lady. The dwarves were distraught at discovering that their beloved Snow White was dead and hurried to fetch the Huntsman, who in grief kissed her and brought her back to him.
Having realised what she had done the stepmother was remorseful and accepted the love of Snow-White and the Huntsman, blessing their marriage and throwing them a big wedding celebration in her Kingdom and, as they say, they all lived happily ever after.
The Vienna Festival Ballet version of the story was a very simplified version which was conveyed so well in the form of ballet which was the main expression of the story and was surprisingly easy to follow, despite my initial concerns. It was a beautiful to watch and you can’t help but admire the absolute skill and abilities of the performers. The dwarves were funny and entertaining adding some light-heartedness to the story by using different dance styles than had been seen so far. The children especially loved this part of the story.
The music and costumes were just a pleasure throughout. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Snow White the ballet to anyone, young and old alike. The ballet was showing for one night only St. Helens Royal theatre but is touring with one night shows at a number of venues up until May 2020.
Vienna Festival Ballet are currently on tour around the UK with Snow White and other shows, for more information and tour dates visit www.viennafestivalballet.com.
For other shows at the St. Helens Theatre Royal visit www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01744 756000.
St. Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St.Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ