Sunday, 20 April 2008

THOUGHTS: Peter and the Wolf

(A late catch-up)

Prokofiev’s classic recently took up residence at the Hackney Empire, featuring a new “first act” establishing how Peter meets the animals in the forest before the piece begins as we know it. While some will undoubtedly take issue at playing around with the canon, the new material (text by Abi Brown and music by Philip Feeney) works well, complementing the original and giving the piece a relaxed air while hinting at the dangers ahead. Both acts, played well by members of the Philharmonia Orchestra, serve as a reminder of how classical music need not be seen as stuffy and dull, but a pleasure in our daily lives. Brought to the stage with a cast of dancers, kaleidoscopic lighting, and a comforting narrator in the form of Brian Blessed, this Peter is a sublime option for a family outing.

Where: Hackney Empire
When: Until 20 April, may be touring onwards.
How Much: £12-£24.50
Concessions: £3 off
RZ Unofficial “Worth Paying”: £24.50. Solid all around and worthy of mid-scale theatrical pricing.
RZ Other Notes: Props to the producers for employing a full cast of dancers (only one of whom cast doubles between the “acts”) and a proper orchestra. In an age of canned music (see the upcoming review of Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision), the joys of the live experience are worth remembering.

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