An award winning success last year, this multimedia fable gives a modern twist to an old-fashioned Hans Christian Andersen plot.
The dancers sometimes vie for attention with rapid, angular video projections, but for the most part De Frutos’s reworked production gets the balance right, leaving space to focus on the impressive twirling leaps of former Royal Ballet star Ivan Putrov’s Karl, a real bad boy in black who bullies his henchmen and forces himself on Clemmie Sveaas’ feisty, pretty-in-pink Princess as she tries in vain to repel him.
Aaron Sillis (who, like his fellow principals, appeared in the original production) completes the triangle as Leo, the rather nerdy dreamer who captures the Princess’s heart and, by inventing a wondrous tiny clock, wins – almost – the competition for her hand.
Pet Shop Boys’ music is, by turns, thumpingly insistent as the well-drilled, drudge-like citizens of this Soviet style kingdom carry out their robotic tasks, then swooningly romantic as Leo and the Princess duet. Like the choreography, it emphasises the conflict between mindless destruction and creative achievement, love and lechery.
And, as in all the best fairy-tales, they ensure that good triumphs over evil and everything ends happily with a celebratory royal wedding.
Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue EC1R 4TN
Until April 7
£10 – £40
– Louise Kingsley