Who doesn’t know Karlsson, who lives on the roof – the best playmate in the world? The cheerful fellow with the propeller on his back is one of the most well-know characters from the books by Astrid Lindgren, beloved by children and grown-ups alike. Now, for the first time in Latvia, his adventures are put in a ballet performance! The production of the Latvian National Ballet lets the young audiences to live through all sorts of famous and exciting activities of Karlsson and Smidge – from running across the rooftops, tackling thieves, pulling the leg of the sour housekeeper Miss Bock, to stealing the pastries! Last but not least, the grand birthday party with no less than eight cakes and a single candle will be served as a special dessert… This cheerful and colorful performance takes the viewers to the place where fantasy meets reality - the chimney sweeps rush into a merry dance over the rooftops of the city, TV divas step out of the screen and arrange a gorgeous Reavia, and even candy bars waltz around delightfully…Then again, the true essence of the ballet is a longing for a genuine friend – the story on and for each one of us.
It is the namesake of Karlsson himself – composer Juris Karlsons – who has turned the mischievous adventures of the little man into music. The dynamic music, rich in contrasts, is like a merry-go-round, where vivid musical qualities intervene with allusions of heard intonations. Choreography of the show is done by Aivars Leimanis, the Artistic Director of the Latvian National Ballet. Already before, Leimanis has created quite a few beloved ballet performances for the entire family. The colorful set design by Mārtiņš Vilkārsis takes you to Stockholm in 1970s, whereas costumes by Ilze Vītoliņa remind of a luxury fashion show.
The production is based on „KARLSSON PÅ TAKET” by Astrid Lindgren presented in association with Nordiska Strakosch Teaterförlaget ApS, Copenhagen.
The production has recieved Grand Latvian Music Award 2013 as The Best Production of the Year.
Out in the streets of Stockholm, the sun is setting behind the roof-tops, the rush-hour people return to their homes after work and school. The chimney-sweeps finish their shifts as well. A shape flies over the roof-tops of the town – what is it? An airplane? A rocket? Or maybe, a shooting star?
The youngest offspring of Svantesson family, lovingly called Smidge by everyone, feels lonely and desperately wishes to have a dog – a friend to play with and care for. Suddenly, a light buzz is heard outside the window, becoming louder and louder, and someone is greeting the little boy. It is Karlsson who lives on the roof – a plump little man in his prime. They get acquainted, Smidge shows his toys to his guest and begins to play with him. The kids building set intrigues Karlsson the most. He initiates a joyful game of building a locomotive. This engine acquires the speed; the game begins to resemble wild merry-go-round rings. And then, suddenly, the whole world crashes down with a shattering blast.
Hearing the noise, the family rushes into the room. Smidge does not seem to hear his father’s scolding and mother’s concern. Excited, he tries to tell them about Karlsson, but the grown-ups refuse to believe. Smidge sinks into sadness. Later, in evening, mother and father put Smidge to sleep telling how much his family loves him. But Smidge misses his newly found friend Karlsson. A quiet buzzing of a little propeller comes in, and Karlsson has arrived. He catches Smidge and both of them fly up to the roof.
Smidge has never been on a roof before. Karlsson’s little house is hidden right behind the chimney. They open its door widely and ask themselves in with: ‘You are warmly welcome, Karlsson, dear! And you, Smidge, as well!’ Having taken his guest around the house, Karlsson suddenly falls ill. He can only be cured by sweets – cookies, chocolates, and jam. Smidge rushes to ‘cure’ his new friend – he is ready to part with his very last treat for him. Finally, Karlsson announces that he has been cured. A wonderful recovery has occurred! A friend has saved his friend! In his fantasy, Karlsson sees hundreds of chocolate dancing happily around him. But then both of them notice two suspicious types sneaking across the roofs – they are thieves Fille and Rulle. Karlsson decides to teach both rascals a lesson by pretending to be a ghost. Now, it is full speed ahead! Surprised by the ghost, Fille and Rulle try to escape in panic. Chimney-sweeps attempt to catch them. The scene turns into a huge chase.
Svantesson family prepares to leave for the country-side. Everyone is in a rush to pack, running up and down the rooms, filling the travel bags, except Smidge. He stubbornly refuses to leave town because – what if Karlsson comes flying in? A door bell is heard. Miss Bock arrives. She will keep an eye on the house and on Smidge for the time when others are visiting country-side. The Svantessons leave. Bock pushes Smidge into his room and locks the door, to keep him out of her way.
Smidge is sad. He is left alone, without Karlsson and without a real little dog. But then the signature buzz of a little engine is heard – and Karlsson is back! He tells Smidge to cheer up and offers to dispel the heavy thoughts by staging a Magic Performance! And incredible fun begins. Suddenly, Karlsson catches the aroma of cinnamon buns being baked in the kitchen. Bock is preparing treats for herself! But the door of their room is locked. What should they do? Karlsson decides that unfriendly Bock should be reproved by a Big Hullabaloo. And the uproar can start. In a while, tired from the noisy chaos created, Miss Bock falls into armchair, picks her favorite program on TV and falls asleep.
In her comfy armchair, Miss Bock is dozing and dreaming. The TV screen blows up bigger and bigger. From there, TV stars - Bock’s only friends and her greatest comfort – step into the room. And Miss Bock herself is part of the fashion parade. To shine on the TV screen is her most cherished dream! Suddenly, the door-bell is heard – the Svantesson family has returned to their home.
It is the morning of Smidge’s birthday. The Svantesson family wakes him up, bringing in the cake decorated with eight birthday candles. But the birthday boy is disappointed – all he wants is a dog. He is still longing for a real, warm and loyal friend. Buzz of a little motor is heard from behind the window: ‘Ciao, ciao, Smidge! Why are you so sad?’ Karlsson notices the cake with eight candles and suggests that Smidge should ask his mother to exchange it for eight cakes with just as single candle on top. Unexpected, the parents appear in the room. They are surprised – Karlsson is real after all! But the moment is interrupted by barking of a little dog. ‘A dog! A real dog! You are my little dog! I will call you Bimbo,’ – Smidge is suddenly the happiest boy alive. The whole family is together and enjoying it. Only Karlsson is left to observe them, a little forlorn, and takes off into the air, with a wisely sneaked piece of birthday cake in his hand…