The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is the poignant and emotional story of an unexpected friendship between the young son of a German soldier and a Jewish boy during the second world war. It is a friendship which exists from either side of the barbed wire fence surrounding Auschwitz until the boys finally unite before meeting their heartbreaking fate.
This famous story by John Boyne has been brought to life in beautiful form by David Nixon and the rest of the incredible team at Northern Ballet. They have delicately drawn on the relationships and struggles which build the story in order to create a pivotal new production.
Daniel de Andrade’s gorgeous choreography encompasses the stunning contemporary twist that the Northern ballet is famous for. When accompanied by Gary Yershon’s dynamic score the production perfectly captures the feelings and emotions portrayed in the story. Kevin Poeung played Bruno with incredible energy and emotion. Together with Antoinette Brooks-Daw as his sister Gretel, the pair were able to capture their characters childlike innocence flawlessly. Filippo Di Vilio playing Shmuel, the young Jewish boy, demonstrates a heaviness within his character which is beautifully lifted in the poignant and powerful moments where the fence is raised and the boys dance together.
Not only did we observe this growing friendship, but the ballet also beautifully presented the relationships between the members of Bruno’s family. Their Grandmother’s disapproval, their Mother’s outrage and their relationship with servant Pavel were all exquisitely illustrated adding further dimension to the story. The Fury, beautifully danced by Mlindi Kulashe, is a constant reminder of the power of Adolf Hitler which hovers amongst the characters throughout the production. The way this signifies and influences the actions of Bruno’s father and Lieutenant Kotler is extremely clever and chilling.
With an impressive set designed by Mark Bailey, the production transports the audience back to war stricken Germany and gives a touching and realistic account of this beautifully tragic story.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is continuing on its UK Tour until 21st October. For more information, head over to the Northern Ballet Website.
*Production Images by Emma Kauldhar