Review - Matthew Bourne's
production of 'The Red Shoes'
Review by Dasha Ibrajeva...
HAVE you ever played Charades? I mean
that game when for a limited time you need to explain the word or phrase without
making a single sound... Not sure how good were you, but what I know for sure is
that if Matthew Bourne played Charades, he would be the king of the game!
Heading to the Salford's
Lowry Theatre, on Tuesday night, 29 November 2016, to
see the latest production of Matthew Bourne; the Red Shoes, I was aware that his
work cannot suck. Hailed as the UK's most popular and successful choreographer
and director, there has always been this big, bold high quality stamp on his
name. But even knowing that, I still had a pinch of doubts, as this time there
was a hard task; he had to tell the story within a story, or to be more precise;
to show a ballet within a ballet!
The Red Shoes Ballet is based on the iconic 1948 film of Powell and Pressburger
"The Red Shoes" and tells the story of a young ballerina, Victoria
Page, who joins an established ballet company and becomes the principal dancer
in a new ballet called:- "The Red Shoes", which is based on Hans
Christian Anderson's fairy tale:- "The Red Shoes". Already feeling
yourself as the character of "Inception" movie? Don't worry! After
ballet impresario, Boris Lermontov, who is secretly in love with Victoria Page,
discovers the romance between his talented composer, Julian Craster, and his
beautiful protege, Vicky, he cruelly puts her in front of the choice; career or
love! This is a heart-breaking story of a woman who is torn to choose between
dedication to dance and desire to love, and when I'm asking myself now whether
it was possible to tell this story any better, my answer is "No"!
Set and staging, casting team, music, costumes, witty humour, orchestra;
everything was simply the best! The quality stamp didn't let down this time
again. Obviously, much of the credits go to the dancers, as they are the ones
who bring their characters to life. The star of the show, without a doubt, was
Victoria Page, portrayed by graceful Ashely Shaw. This girl has stolen my heart
since the time I 1st saw her performing Kim Bogg's role in Bourne's production
of Edward Scissorhands a few years ago. Time may have passed, but nothing has
changed. I'm still fascinated by her magical dance. She is so fragile, just like
a feather floating around on the stage so effortlessly. And have you seen her
wrists? These are the wrists to die for! Her partners on stage; Sam Archer
(Boris Lermontov) and Chris Trenfield (Julian Craster) were equally inspiring
and gifted. Apart from being real dance professionals, they managed to grow into
their roles so naturally that you simply believed in their characters from the
beginning right through to the very end.
The set and staging was breathtaking, as always. The special ovation goes to a
brilliant genius, Lez Brotherston, who found a very clever and creative way to
portray 'ballet within a ballet' scenes. My personal favourite was
the scene during The Red Shoes ballet at the end of Act 1, when the swirling
wind was projected onto a massive white canvas. The spectacle was hypnotising!
If you are still reading this, I highly recommend you to go and make yourself a
cup of hot chocolate (or maybe even something stronger than that) wrap yourself
up in a soft blanket and watch a classic movie of Powell and Pressburger
"The Red Shoes." And if you still haven't bought tickets for Bourne's
"The Red Shoes", please run to the nearest box office and don't
deprive yourself from having a fantastic night out to remember!
5 stars out of 5