“Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes”
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
Matthew Bourne is the king of modern ballet choreography. His new adaptation is of the Academy award winning Powell & Pressburger’s 1948 film of the same name and Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. It’s about a girl, Vicky Page, who lives to dance, and the two men who inspire that passion within. This is Bourne’s 11th full length production.
Vicky hopes to impress Boris Lermontov, the poker-faced director of an innovative ballet company, and she manages to attract his attention. He’s impressed and invites her, as well as a moody young composer, Julian Craster, to join his company. The pair’s talents flourish under his guidance and then romance rears its head for Craster and Page and that's where the problems start.
Bourne reunites the magical team who worked on “Sleeping Beauty” for this hypnotic, slightly gothic but ultimately romantic story.
The set and costumes are designed by Lez Brotherston. The set is cleverly designed utilising a large stage within a stage where the curtains can revolve allowing you to see both sides of the stage. it also acts as a split section allowing the stage crew to change one side of the scenery while the other half is being used. With a smooth rotation of the curtains we can then move to the other half.
We visit the ballet stage, the beach at Monte Carlo, A sleazy music hall and we even get a steam train in there as well.
The costumes, as only to be expected from Sir Matthew's ballets are eye-catching, exciting blending the contemporary with the outlandish. Visually a treat for all.
Paule Constable has designed the lighting. It changes from stark to Hollywood glamour, from brilliant sunshine on the beach to dark eerie castle gloominess.
The gorgeous, rich and romantic sound is the responsibility of the New Adventures Orchestra. sweeping strings transport you to a far away place and then bring you back to the darker side of the ballet with just a staccato exchange.
Paul Groothius designs the soundscape. He makes you feel like you're sitting by the Monte Carlo
The music itself is arranged by Terry Davies using the magical music of Hollywood composer, Bernard Herrmann, who has worked on scores for Martin Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles among other legends.
Matthew Bourne combines several dance styles in his ballets, including a wonderful comedy Wilson and Keppell sand dance routine. And comedy is one thing that Mr Bourne loves to inject into his work and there's loads of humour in this one. But this ballet also has a darker underbelly as well.
The three main leads Sam Archer (Lermontov), Ashley Shaw (Victoria Page) and Chris Trenfield (Craster) are all, as only to be expected excellent. The whole ensemble are excellent. Come on let's face it Sir Matthew only uses the very best dancers for his productions.
You can see why Matthew Bourne has been nominated for the Best Theatre Choreographer in the 2017 Olivier Awards with work like this. His reputation attracts theatre goers and dance fans all over the world, guaranteeing an excellent evening of classy artistry.
I adore this form of art, and while I know that some may still feel the world of ballet to be slightly elitist, Sir Matthew Bourne could change that image for you because dance performed to this standard is pure magic. Go on, take a chance.
“The Red Shoes” is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 11 March 2017.
Oh and Sir Matthew, if you happen to come across this review, please can you bring "The Car Man" back to Nottingham. Please!!!