Biff is just as passionate about dance as his owner, Anna. And, although he appears to be the unlikeliest creature to do ballet, he won't be stopped. He follows Anna to her lessons and tries to convince the nay-saying father to let him go to see a show with a star ballerina. Of course he refuses! But there are others too who stand in his way: Anna's ballet teacher, Miss Polly, also thinks that dogs don't belong on the dance floor. His growing resentment culminates in a nightmare sequence in which he is haunted by oversized red ballet shoes (don't worry, it's not too scary but rather beautifully done). But Biff is cannot be deterred; he wants to wear the tutu and he will dance.
Dog's Don't Do Ballet tells the powerful and simple story of how a little cheekiness and determination can go a long way in achieving your dreams. The message is universal, and the show manages to be so much more than a children's show; there's food for thought for adults here, too. If a dog can do ballet then you can get that job you're aiming for or do the marathon you've always been dreaming of running – you just have to set your mind to it.
There are some loveable characters in the piece too, such as the extrovert Miss Polly (Ronnie Le Drew) who struggles to give commands to her easily distracted assistant Marjorie. Le Drew and Andrea Sadler are subtly brilliant as puppeteers and breathtakingly funny as the various characters.
The props and puppets have a comforting, old-fashioned, crayon-like look. Keith Frederick's design here has none of that jarring and loud visual style modern children's entertainment seems to have subscribed to and, together with the story, is captivating enough to sustain the children's attention. The dramaturgical approach to the stage space is fairly free which enables the performers to use puppets of differents sizes in a fluid way to move the story along.
Like so many of the scenes the final showdown in the Royal Ballet is tender and uproariously funny all at once. Think prima ballerina, sneezing and a tuba. This show is delightfully innocent entertainment with poignant messages and a feel good factor. And on top of all that, offers a playful introduction into classical music for the little ones. The piece playfully incorporates works from Delibes to Tchaikovsky as well as an entertaining tour of the main instruments of an orchestra. A precise and well realised play that looks completely effortless and fun. A must see for under six-year-olds and a should-see for everyone else.