Petya and the Wolf (3 stars)

This article is from 2012

Petya and the Wolf

Childlike in its chaotic naiivety but enough depth to entertain all ages

Two Russian actors present this idiosyncratic physical retelling of the familiar tale of how Peter outsmarts the hungry wolf, soundtracked by a recording of the Prokofiev score with English narration.

Although the story is simple enough for all ages to follow, and the whole thing runs to a neat 40 minutes, the pitch black at the beginning and semi-dark throughout, not to mention the wolf’s enigmatic menace, might be too much for the youngest of the recommended 4–99 age range.

Childlike in its chaotic naivety, the performance is driven by raggedy, simple props that fire up imaginations: furry paws and whiskers tell us that an actor is now the cat, a moustache and walking stick signify Grandad. Sometimes, the animals are even represented by scraps of string or fabric.

All this abstraction might make the story a little hard for younger kids to follow, but there’s enough gracefully executed dance and clowning around to keep it entertaining, whatever your level of understanding.

A wordless coda to contemporary musical accompaniment takes the abstraction – and the story – further; but if you want to test the theory that theatre for children doesn’t have to be boldly representational and unsubtle, this is a great place to start.

Assembly Roxy, 623 3030, until 27 Aug (not 13, 20), 10.30am, £8–£9.

Theatre La Pushkin Petia and the wolf Oleg Zhukovskiy Andrey Rubtsov

Petya and the Wolf

  • 3 stars

Musical fairytale for children aged 4-99. A dramatic story re-telling by two clowns. A puppet theatre without puppets. A mute opera. A pocket circus. Ages 4+. Theatre La Pushkin / Russian Season 2012.

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