STAGE REVIEW: Seasons in our World and Peter and the Wolf - at the Festival Theatre, Malvern, on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 21 and 22, 2019.

THIS Birmingham Royal Ballet May touring double-header around the Midlands was as near to perfection personified as could be hoped or even wished for.

Opening with ‘Seasons’ the audience was treated and also whisked through the changing year by excellent synchronised movements, with the evening then neatly rounded off with a delightful offering of the age-old Prokofiev classic of how Peter beats the odds to defeat a big grey wolf.

Mind you, it it was more a case of Petra taking on the beast which had been lurking with intent in the forest as this tale of good conquering evil took a turn along the LGBT trail as a female dancer took the lead role.

‘Seasons’ was classical ballet with excellent physical harmony among the dozen dancers in their interpretation of a new score from award-winning composer Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian, which revealed the message how everyone should work together in an ever-changing and challenging world.

The telling of Peter’s escapade with the wolf, a symphonic fairytale for children and the young at heart, had a modern setting - a ladder, planks and scaffolding sufficing for a tree in the meadow. There was also street-wise dress and, of course, that gender switch for the wolf’s protaganist. All very up to date.

Overall it provided a family-friendly ballet with the efforts of choreographer Ruth Brill rewarded by the richness of the performances.

Peter’s tale is a mere 30 minute production, almost as long as the wolf’s tail when stretched by a lasso, but it packs considerable quality into that half-hour.

Also, keeping faith with Sergei Prokofiev's familiar music, splendidly performed by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia - conducted by Philip Ellis, proved that sticking with the traditional at times really does pay dividends.

Even the updated setting from pastoral Russia to a modern-cum-hip urban backdrop with the characters adorned by tracksuit bottoms and hoody, as well as a baseball cap and trainers, did not detract.

Karla Doorbar may have cut an elfin figure as she leaped to the defence of her animal friends in the meadow, but she was big on resourcefulness and performance.

Meanwhile Alexander Yap was suitably menacing as the Wolf before ending the evening packed in a supermarket trolley for delivery to a wildlife centre to pay his debt for gobbling up Alys Shee’s cute Duck!

Other attractive offerings were provided by Gus Payne’s friendly Bird and Eilis Small’s distinctly furry feline, Cat, who was slinky with shades of sexiness.

Putting all the pieces together the two offerings are both full of colour and cultured choreography to cater both for the traditionalists and for anyone new to ballet, especially youngsters who numbered quite a few in the audience.