REVIEW: The Boy in Striped Pyjamas


Northern Ballet delivered a captivating performance of, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas at the West Yorkshire Playhouse this week. Being familiar with the book by John Boyne and the film I was intrigued how this would translate to the stage in through medium of dance. Daniel de Andrade delivered a moving piece through his Choreography and Direction. Ignoring the historical inaccuracies, and putting aside the controversy that surrounds this story, the movement was spectacular and the tale was told with sensitivity.

Kevin Poeung captured the youthful of exuberance of Bruno, difficult for an adult to capture, in parallel Filippo di Vilio playing Shmuel, illustrated the impact of his incarceration through his awkward movements and obvious starvation. The two boys were separated by a fence but on occasion united in freedom with a fleeting ball game or gesture.

The story is based around a concentration camp where a young boy is able to strike up a friendship with a camp incumbent through a tall wire fence. Bruno is the son of the Camp Commandant is unaware of the atrocities around him.  For me the stand our character was the Grandmother portrayed by Victoria Sibson, who demonstrated her utter horror at the world she found herself in. Her sense of justice and ability to stand up to her son and condemn the atrocities provided much needed balance, it needed an adult character to denounce events make this more comfortable for the audience to watch.

The different dimensions brought through the characterisations was faultless, in terms of delivery it was sensitive however The Fury, Mlindi Kulashe represented the spectre of Hitler, the gas masked dark character appeared to play some of the characters like a puppet master, although the dancer technically brilliant this was one of the elements I was the most uncomfortable with.



Rob Wilson