Share |


Published by: Elaine Pinkus on 16th Dec 2015 | View all blogs by Elaine Pinkus


Lilian Baylis Theatre


Based on the Hans Christian Anderson tale, Arthur Pita’s dance production is a piece of sheer splendour and wonder. This is the story of a poor little match girl who is shunned by the cruel people of her village somewhere in Italy on a bitterly cold Christmas eve. At all turns she is assaulted and abused and receives not a moment of  compassion, spending many a cold night in the snow with little more than her thin, torn garments to cover her. Despite it being Christmas Eve, no kindness is shown to her. Her only joy is the wonder of lights from street lamps or her matches; her only hope is one day being reunited with the person most dear to her, her dead grandmother.

Corey Annand as the little match girl, Flametta touches the hearts of adults and children as she portrays her desperate plight. She appeals directly to the audience, perhaps they may offer her the love she most craves. Her tiny, shivering frame could be almost blown away like the small flame in her matches. Contrasting highly is the vicious trio of callous and indifferent villagers who are almost cartoon like in their exaggerated cruelty. Valentino Golfieri is brilliant as both the ludicrously garbed Angelica and the bullying match boy who treat  little Flametta in the most sadistic manner.

Image result for The little match girl lilian baylis 

These colourful characters perform to the magical soundrack of Frank Moon whose haunting music and wondrous array of instruments creates the mood and atmosphere from the moment the audience enters the studio. He is an act in his own right and received well deserved appreciation from the gathering. Yann Seabra’s simple backdrop of the moon and the silhouettes of the village homes create the fairy tale quality of this magical experience.

There is not one moment when the audience will be distracted from the message of this story. The fact that it is conducted entirely in Italian does not detract at all.  This is a lesson in humanity and compassion. Despite the joy and humour of sequences interspersed throughout and the zany trip to the moon, the sadness permeates and endures well after the 70 minute production ends.  

It was a privilege to be part of the wonder of Pita’s The Little Match Girl. There are no words to express the joy and sadness and I can offer only a huge thank you to the superb performers who made this an evening to remember.

The Little Match Girl: a co-production with Dancefast

Playing at The Lilian Bayliss theatre, Islington, London until 3 January 2016

Running Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Tickets: Adults £18, children £12 (recommended for ages 6+)

Ticket Office on 020 7863 8000*; Monday to Saturday, 10am - 8pm.

Book online:

Photographs: Phil Conrad



  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 2 years ago
    Thanks, Elaine. Your lovely review let's me experience a little of that that splendour and wonder from hundreds of miles away. I do wish I could see it for myself!
  • Carolin Kopplin
    by Carolin Kopplin 2 years ago
    It is such a sad story. I would love to see this production.
  • Elaine Pinkus
    by Elaine Pinkus 1 year ago
    Carolin, this is being repeated this Christmas 2016 at the same venue. I have booked it again and taking the husband this time. Worth seeing.
Please login or sign up to post on this network.
Click here to sign up now.