Review provided with kind permission by Georgina Daly
The ‘Tales of Beatrix Potter’ ballet delighted and enchanted the capacity audience at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne, UK, in a spectacular production by locally-based Southern Youth Ballet.
Jemima Puddle-Duck was captivated by The Fox, not realising the dangers of flirting with such an animal, while the washerwoman, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, did her best to protect the silly duck.
Yuriko Evans as Jemima and Lorena Perez as Tiggy-Winkle, were just two of the dancers who brought humour and lyrical dancing to their roles. While the standard of dance was exceptionally high throughout this production, it was also the acting that made the stories stand out. All the more effective considering that we could not see their faces ... the heads and tails of all the animals were stunningly lifelike. A big cheer for local theatre artisan Dugg Daynes who made all the character heads and tails.
Everyone’s favourite, Peter Rabbit, was danced by 11-year-old Anthony Winstanley and bouncy Squirrel Nutkin by Charlie Levett, two boys to watch closely as they grow and strengthen their dancing.
Fishing-mad Jeremy Fisher (sporting a particularly life-like head) was very impressively brought to life by Owen Horsford and Hannah Pearce was equally as impressive as the appealing Tabitha Twitchit.
Mice, rabbits and villagers were all a part of this production, everyone in superb costumes and communicating their sense of fun and enjoyment to the audience.
But one dancer among all these stood out in a demanding role and never wavered from her dedication to being the storyteller. Erin Perry as Beatrix Potter not only “told” the stories but also made us glad that we were watching them.
As always the Southern Youth Ballet Orchestra, conducted by Kenneth Roberts, provided splendid and sympathetic music for the dancers.
Producer Liz Buckland has brought many triumphs to this company since she launched Southern Youth Ballet in 1996. The ‘Tales of Beatrix Potter’ production may yet prove to be
the greatest of them all.