Theatre review - The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Northern Ballet

PUBLISHED: 21:38 30 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:40 31 May 2017

Matthew Koon as Bruno and Filippo Di Vilio as Shmuel in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Photo Emma Kauldhar

Matthew Koon as Bruno and Filippo Di Vilio as Shmuel in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Photo Emma Kauldhar

© Emma Kauldhar

The film adaptation gave a good account of the bestselling book, can Northern Ballet do the same? Review by Paul Szabo

Northern Ballet dancers in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Photo Emma KauldharNorthern Ballet dancers in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Photo Emma Kauldhar

It was with some initial trepidation that I arrived at the world premiere of Northern Ballet’s new production, as I wondered whether or not a ballet about events during the Holocaust would be appropriate or actually work.

This new production is based on the children’s book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by Irish novelist, John Boyne which tells the story of Bruno, the son of a concentration camp Commandant, who forms an unlikely friendship with a young Jewish boy, Shmuel, a prisoner who sits on the other side of the barbed wire fence.

You can always rely on Northern Ballet to provide quality in terms of the dancing within their productions, and this show was no exception. Matthew Koon plays the role of Bruno with a wide eyed innocence, leaping into the air with aplomb; which sat nicely against Filippo Di Vilo’s understated performance as Shmuel. But it is Mlindi Kulashe’s performance as The Fury which really stood out, as he slinked across the stage in his full face mask and flowing black robes, bending and twisting his body into the stuff of nightmares.

But amongst the sadness, there are some genuinely touching scenes. As the boys play together, the stage transforms from dull greys and dark colours to being awash with a brilliant blue, making you feel that somewhere amongst everything unfolding onstage, there is some hope, happiness and humanity.

Sean Bates as Lieutenant Kotler and Hannah Bateman as the Mother in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Photo Emma KauldharSean Bates as Lieutenant Kotler and Hannah Bateman as the Mother in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Photo Emma Kauldhar

What we are left with is a ballet with a very relevant story (and one which is pretty much intact from the book in its entirety) and a production which is suitable for all, including families and ballet novices. By the time the curtain fell, I was content that my trepidation was well and truly unfounded, given that the production handles matters with sensitivity but still provides a genuine emotional punch.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas tour returns to Yorkshire in the autumn

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds Tue 5 – Sat 9 Sep 2017,

Hull New Theatre, Wed 18 – Sat 21 Oct 2017.

northernballet.com

More from Out & About

00:00

The days may be short and cold, but there is still magic to be seen in Yorkshire’s winter wonderlands. Sam Twyman and Clea Grady from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust share their favourite winter tips

Read more
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Enjoy the views into the Yorkshire Dales and, dare we say it, towards Lancashire during this lovely walk

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

It’s an all-year-round project putting together a merry welcome at one family country house

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

George and Gerald are determined not to go to sleep on Christmas Eve. Tucked up snugly in bed, they want to stay awake to see if Father Christmas brings them a little something for being good boys all year long. Gerald has his fingers (and toes) crossed for a fire engine.

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Banish the loneliness of the digital world and head for real life retail therapy at a historic market place, says Richard Darn

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

What next for a former Harrogate spa hotel and public house?

Read more
RHS Harlow Carr
Friday, November 23, 2018

When the festive frenzy gets too much, just head out of town.

Read more
Fountains Abbey
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Treat yourself to a luxury break while exploring the beautiful area surrounding the North York Moors national park.

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Depending on wwho you ask, Hebden Bridge is a place for artists, commuters and hippies. Walkers also love this market town for its proximity to some fine West Yorskhire countryside.

Read more
Hebden Bridge

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Property Search