ballentLorent presents Rumpelstiltskin
by Layla Shaheen
Rumpelstiltskin, a fairy-tale we all know and love, took to the stage of His Majesty’s Theatre this weekend in the form of a folklore ballet by renowned poet Carol-Ann Duffy . The contemporary piece showcased compositions from Murray Gold and choreography by Liv Lorent, the establisher of balletLorent™ , who together brought the modern-day version of the story to life. With no on-stage dialogue and intermittent commentary, the tale was told entirely through movement.
The story’s opening was a crescendo of luminance and joy, as the stage filled from every angle with villagers. The audience beamed with glee at the almost terrifyingly realistic sheep leaping and bounding to the music, and the king and queen of the land whose love reigned powerful. As the beautiful story progressed, the queen fell pregnant. The happily-ever-after took a turn when she died shortly after childbirth. Darkness became the dominant theme and the child was raised by a father filled with nothing but resentment.
Shunned by his father and lacking in social skills, the villagers rejected Rumpelstiltskin – all apart from the shepherd’s daughter, whom Rumpelstiltskin grew up with and loved throughout his childhood.
Eventually, when her childhood was a distant memory, the shepherd’s daughter was threatened with a task she was unable to perform - spinning straw into gold. As Rumpelstiltskin came to the rescue, he requested the girl’s first born as a reward for his help. After successfully spinning straw into gold, the shepherd’s daughter married the king. As the show progressed, the king accepted Rumpelstiltskin as his own. Just after the king’s passing, romance blossomed between Rumpelstiltskin and the shepherd's daughter - and the couple lived happily ever after as the rulers of the kingdom.
The music complemented the show beautifully, alternating between simple folk style and a jig with a strong beat. The dances varied from ones of solidarity, to seemingly haphazard but intricately choreographed numbers, each one telling a different part of the story. Rumpelstiltskin’s character began as a socially-awkward hermit, and the shepherd’s daughter had almost forgotten about him. But ultimately, as the original fairy-tale dictates, he went on to rescue her and they fell in love.
A perfect balance between the traditional story and a modern depiction, the story was told through expression of dance and appreciated by an audience ranging from young children to the elderly.