The enduringly popular work by Sergei Prokofiev is adapted here with admirable aesthetic cohesion by 24 year old choreographer Matthew Hart, and performed by dancers in training with the Royal Ballet, as the Company's Director, Sir Anthony Dowell, one of the very finest artists with the Royal during the last half of the twentieth century, serves as narrator and as the cast's Grandfather in an engaging performance recorded at Covent Garden. Staging is uncomplicated and is distinguished by effective lighting, each craft increasing the impact of Hart's able use of engraved line for the young dancers, designed to capture the attention of an equally young audience, and Prokofiev's orchestral colour is aptly appropriated, with its varied descriptive moods conveyed by Hart for the purposes of dance. The composer's score provides but a limited number of conceivable balletic roles: Peter, his Grandfather, the Wolf, Bird, Cat, and Duck, yet Hart in a master stroke has deployed small groups of dancers to embody abstractions of a forest, a meadow, a wall, and a pond, while Royal Ballet Junior School boys are depicted as bespectacled huntsmen. These latter exhibit the only ragged dancing in the film, while Martin Harvey, one year into the Upper School, displays a good deal of fluency, thereby tendering the work's central performance as the Wolf, while Dowell, completing dilatory enveloping arabesques with a walking stave, creates a correctly personal interpretation in his role as Peter's Grandfather in this delicious film that must certainly garner approval from viewers of all ages. A DVD version provides no extras, but is excellent in every other manner.
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