Thursday saw the Sydney premiere of French ballet company Ballet Preljocaj’s production of Snow White which was its first performance since it first premiered in Australia as part of the 2016 Brisbane Festival.
This is a very dark retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ tale but one in which you relished in the darkness.
The costumes were designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier, and his signature paneling was featured in the feathered, flowing one shouldered piece worn by Verity Jacobsen in the role of Snow White which perfectly symobilised her innocence, fragility and purity. This was in perfect contrast to the costume of the evil Queen played by Cecilia Torres Morillo, who we interviewed last week. Morillo wears a dominatrix style Gaultier outfit, which is la piece de resistance in knee-high boots, cape, and a latex and rubber, corsetted bodice. The Queen has 2 black cats shadowing her every move that serve her in her ruse to destroy Snow White. These are a wonderful addition to the story. They are highly energetic, sneaky, mischievous, and costumed in bondage style with netted headgear with webbed patches covering their mouths.
Other dancers were costumed in Irish style and Grecian inspired outfits. The choice of peach tight fitted 7/8 pants with gold side panelling for the Prince seemed a little unusual as it was not as masculine as one would envisage for the character.
The Queen’s entrance was powerful from many aspects: her strong tall body was a theatrical stand point with strong dance moves and the costuming described above clearly defined her role as the dark, strong, sexy and overpowering Queen. Overpowering the Queen most definitely was, as was patent from the way in which she aggressively rammed the apple down Snow White’s throat.
The performance was unapologetically violent at times, not just with the apple scene described above but also with the Prince’s desperate, devastated and frenzied swinging and dragging when he finds Snow White who is thought to be dead. Similarly in the final scene, the Queen is forced to dance herself to death in red-hot clogs.
Thierry Leproust’s set was impressive. A wall on which the dwarves performed acrobatics as a playful addition to the show. The set lent itself perfectly to the mirror scenes, which were magical and so well executed with the playful cats who are mesmerised and intrigued by their own reflections that we believed it was in fact, a mirror.
Unlike the Melbourne performances which will be accompanied by Orchestra Victoria, the Sydney performances of Snow White do not have any live orchestral accompaniment. However, we loved the electronic interpretations of Gustav Mahler, 7D.
Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of the Sydney Opera House
There remains one Sydney show of Snow White, tonight, Sunday 10 June. Tickets and info here.
Snow White will then return to Australia in August for Melbourne performances from 1-5 August. Tickets and info for those shows can be found here.