Dogs Don’t Do Ballet at The Roses Theatre
One of Emily’s favourite books is Dogs Don’t Do Ballet by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie. It is one that I enjoy reading to her to, not only because it is funny and sweet, but because of the subtext. Biff is a dog, unlike other dogs. He wants to be a ballerina. He loves dancing, but is repeatedly told that “Dogs don’t do ballet”. It is a story about big dreams and overcoming other peoples preconceptions.
When I heard that the stage show of the book was coming to The Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury, I had to take the girls. Both of them know the book so well, I knew that they would love to see it come to life on stage. The Dogs Don’t Do Ballet theatre show is produced by Little Blue Monster Productions who are performing it in theatres and as part of their outdoor season until the end of September.
From the outset it was absolutely clear that the company were completely focussed in on making this the best experience for the children coming to see it. One member of the cast met the audience outside the auditorium as they arrived, chatting to the children and making them laugh. It would definitely help ease any nerves for a child’s first visit to a theatre. Once the doors opened, this actor was joined by the other two cast members and they moved around the auditorium, entertaining the children. It certainly stopped any questions about when the show was going to start from my two!
As you would expect from such a child-friendly production, there was lots of talking out to the audience. Children were encouraged to shout “Hello!” and wave to the actors. There was one section where the audience had to stand up and perform some basic ballet movements. Children were encouraged to make sure the grown ups were stood up too. I didn’t have any problem doing this, but I think Emily was rather embarrassed by me getting involved and insisted I sit back down. She should at least have been grateful that I wasn’t one of the two adults who were bought up on stage to perform the dance routine!
Biff the dog was portrayed by both a stuffed toy and one of the three actors. The stuffed toy very closely resembled Biff from the book. It was obvious that the Biff toy was “dancing” as he was moved by the actor holding him, but it really didn’t matter. And it certainly didn’t diminish the magic from the performance.
The show is 55 minutes long. It is suitable for children aged 3 and upwards, but there were younger children in the audience who were also enjoying the show. There was plenty of humour to please all ages. I loved the jokes about Lucy’s dad going to the toilet before the show starts, which went above my girls’ heads. They thought that the dog weeing against a lamppost – with a water pistol being used to add to the realism – was the funniest part. It was a great show – and I couldn’t help but take my eyes off the performance from time-to-time to watch my girls. They were mesmerised by the show. If you have younger children, I would thoroughly recommend taking them to see Dogs Don’t Do Ballet!
I should also say how impressed we were with The Roses Theatre. This was our first visit there and it will certainly not be our last. The auditorium had a very traditional feel to it, which you may not expect from the outside of the building. Every member of staff we encountered was so friendly and helpful. As you would expect from any child-friendly show, there was some movement of children and adults in and out of the auditorium during the performance. Staff were on hand to help them. The Roses might not be our closest theatre, but our experience today would definitely make it my first choice for a future theatre visit.
Disclaimer: We were provided with tickets for this performance in exchange for a review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own – we loved both the performance and the theatre and thoroughly recommend both!