balletLORENT Rumpelstiltskin review & why you should take your (older) kids

*Press event - we received complimentary tickets

You may remember that Heidi and I watched the Russian State Ballet present the Nutcracker at Tyne Theatre and Opera House last year (in fact it was almost a year ago - doesn't time fly).  We absolutely loved this performance so when we were invited to watch another ballet - Rumpelstiltskin by balletLORENT at Northern Stage, the event was marked in our diary and we could not wait. There's something exciting about a special girl's night out in town. Rumpelstiltskin is aimed at children aged 7+ and I am pretty confident that Jack (6), Heidi (8) and Harry (11) would all love it in equal amounts. I'm actually disappointed that Jack and Harry didn't want to come along and preferred to stay at home and watch Thor with their dad. Next time I'll bring the whole family because in this case, mum really does know best. 

Rumpelstiltskin is perhaps one of the lesser known fairytales and as Heidi and I sat on the bus on our way to Newcastle we googled the story and as soon as I started re-telling it, Heidi's memory was jogged and she was able to recall the story. We decided not to re-read the ending so it would be a surprise. 

We took our seats in a sold out Stage One and watched as the stage was started to come to life in front of us. The opening scenes are playful and engaging with children playing, dancing and music. It's clear to see the King and Queen are deeply in love as they dance tenderly but it's the flock of sheep who really steal the show. Heidi was captivated (as was I) and at first we really thought they were real. In times the performance can be quite dark and the sheep really bring joy and a little light relief to the show. We loved them and almost wanted to smuggle one home! 

What I love about balletLORENT is that they are passionate about working with local communities. At each venue they visit they'll work with local school children and adults who get the chance to appear on stage alongside the professional performers. During the Newcastle shows at Northern Stage they have worked with children from the East and West End of Newcastle and adults aged 55+ from local day centres and even a knit and natter group. Dance is something that really can bring the generations together and watching the local children and pensioners together on stage really was a fine example of this. It was apparent in the audience too as there were children enjoying a night out with their parents, couples enjoying date night, older adults and students filling the theatre - a real mix. 

The children on stage were an absolute delight to watch and the knit and natter ladies were beaming during their standing ovation. My heart swelled with pride for them and our region and I actually shed a few tears when the show was over.

Rumpelstiltskin by balletLORENT was SO different to the formal ballet we watched last year. It was contemporary with a range of dance styles and thanks to narration by Ben Crompton (of Game of Thrones fame) and an eclectic soundtrack, the story was very easy to follow with no need for interpretation - perfect for younger children who may fidget or not fully follow a more formal ballet. 

Rumpelstiltskin is the first performance I've watched with Heidi where I really feel like she became emotionally involved in the story. I hope this isn't a spoiler but when the Queen died, Heidi gripped me and looked at me with a sad face. There are some fairly dark parts where the King throws Rumpelstiltskin out of the castle and later on where he threatens to kill the sheep who we'd grown so attached to. Heidi snuggled in and sat on the end of her seat and was physically biting her nails in parts. I could feel her willing the story to end well. 

And end well it did. The story does have a happy ending and in the final scenes Heidi was dancing along in her seat with a huge smile on her face. She absolutely loved our night watching Rumpelstiltskin and as we left the theatre we were asked to pop a token in the corresponding emoji box to represent how we felt about the show - Heidi chose the love heart emoji and left asking if we could buy a pet sheep (erm no) and if she could re-join a dance school. 

It may sound that Rumpelstiltskin is a show for children and yes, it is probably the best introduction to ballet they will ever receive but it's very much a show for grown-ups too. BalletLORENT's connection with Northern Stage is very apparent as the staging is perfect with lots of clever props and dynamic scenes. There's a little bit of magic too as straw really is transformed into gold before our eyes.

I am always very much drawn to the darker characters in anything I watch and Rumpelstiltskin was no different. John Kendall as the King was the star of the show for me and the portrayal of his anger, turmoil and greed really was gripping and something that caught the audience quite by surprise after we'd watched him whimsically in love in the opening scenes. After any scene featuring the sheep, Heidi really enjoyed the scene where Rumpelstiltskin danced around his fire singing his name.

If I had to sum up what it's like to watch Rumpelstiltskin by balletLORENT I'd say it was like watching a fairytale unfold on stage with a few dark moments, incredible staging, a sprinkle of light-hearted silliness and a show where both children and adults will really connect with the characters involved. It's anything but a traditional ballet and definitely don't expect tutus and pirouettes. Do expect to be taken on a journey for all ages and sit back and enjoy as the story unfolds. Rumpelstiltskin is split into two 40 minute acts with a 20 minute interval and I promise your children will be anything but bored.

Rumpelstiltskin continues at Northern Stage until 28 October. Tickets are available from just £10 which is an absolute steal! Suitable for children aged 7+, take your sons and daughters as a half term treat, take your grandparents who may never have watched a ballet, take your husband, take your's really not to be missed. The cast left the stage to a standing ovation tonight and it was very much deserved. 



  1. I love that yous loved it, Ballet Lorent are amazebonks, truly one of my most favourite dance companies ever

  2. I was petrified of Rumpelstiltskin as a child but this looks like just the right thing to allay my fears. Thank you for linking up with #CulturedKids

  3. Going into the community must make a huge difference, explaining the stories, meeting the kids. Ballet is quite expensive so it's a treat, but if the kids are excited about visiting that's half the battle. £10 is very good for ballet on the whole. #culturedkids

  4. Oh wow - this production sounds amazing, and I love the fact that the children and pensioners were able to appear on stage too. The costumes look so well-crafted. A great introduction to ballet - thanks so much for sharing with #CulturedKids

  5. Looks and sounds like a really
    amazing performance! #Culturedkids

  6. You have reminded me that I haven;t been to a ballet in a very long time - and I've been meaning to take the kids too. Time to set it up I think. Love the costumes in this one, and the fact that your daughter got so into it is a recommendation all of its own.


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