Tuesday, 6 March 2018

“Cinderella” by New Adventures
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
There is something about a ballet that is unlike any other form of theatre production. It's not all about the dance, it's also about the story telling and that, in Cinderella, is perfect, as is the dance.
Choreographed by Sir Matthew Bourne, you just know before even setting foot in the theatre that this is going to be something special. Why? Because in my mind anything that Matthew Bourne has been involved in is going to be special.
It’s set in 1940 in London and blends the Blitz with Hollywood glitz. It was first performed 20 years ago but Bourne’s ballet has been tweaked over the years. It includes conga, swing, jive as well as ballet, so don’t be fooled into thinking this is just any other ballet; not that Bourne and New Adventures would do “just any other ballet”.
The set is designed by Lez Brotherston and is magical. Changing from black and white dismal to glittering
Hollywood style dance hall through to The Café de Paris, with it's rich and lush, red surroundings, the Thames Embankment and the London Underground.
Possibly one of the most inspired and exciting sets I’ve seen for a ballet. Lez is also responsible for the marvellous costume design, which is something that is the norm for a Matthew Bourne ballet.
The musical score is by Prokofiev.so the romanticism of the music washes over you. His waltzes are only second to the Waltz King, Johann Strauss
Michela Meazza as the Stepmother, comes across as a heady mix of Joan Crawford and Cruella de Vil.
Ashley Shaw plays the mousy, bespectacled and vulnerable Cinderella. When the transformation comes, you really have to look twice to make sure it;s the same dancer. As only to be expected, her dress is amazing.
Pilot Harry, our Prince for the Cinderella story line, is played by Andrew Monaghan. His chemistry with Cinderella is as magical as his relationship on the dance floor with Cinderella's stepmother is comical.
Liam Mower, who was the original Billy Elliott in the West End, plays the mysterious Angel, which is the upgrade from The Fairy Godmother.
As well as Cinderella's two step sisters, played by Sophia Hurdley and Anjali Mehra, Bourne has also introduced three step brothers, who were just as nasty to her, played by Jackson Fisch, Dan Wright and Mark Samaras. Brilliant characterisation for all five, especially one of the brothers who seems to exhibit an unhealthy fascination in shoes, bordering on fetishism.Very comical.
Talking of character, every dancer's character on stage have their own personality and wherever you look, each one is engaged in something or other.
Comedy is weaved into the story whenever possible and even small things like one of the characters having to dash off to the toilet, leaving the youngest brother to dance with his partner while he escapes for a wee.
The whole dark underbelly of the war time underworld, complete with prostitutes and rent boys is also shown. in fact the whole feel of this show is what you'd expect of this period in history, complete with the old Pathe news reels.
Matthew Bourne’s “Cinderella” is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 10 March 2018

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