Review: Matthew Bourne’s ‘The Red Shoes’

Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes returns to the Theatre Royal Plymouth this week, giving audiences in the city a second chance to experience the magic, colour, and romance of this triumphant production.

By Megan Potterton

An award-winning adaptation of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s film and the Hans Cristian Andersen fairy-tale, Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes is ‘a tale of obsession, possession and one girl’s dream to be the greatest dancer in the world’. Bourne’s production received a phenomenal response to it’s first run in 2016. Now, three years later, The Red Shoes returns to The Theatre Royal Plymouth.

The powerful force of dance and its ability to dominate a dancer’s life lie at the heart of this ballet. Matthew Bourne’s portrayal of love, destruction and real emotion through his award-winning choreography creates a production that will leave its audiences simultaneously in love and heart broken as the curtains close.

The talented cast are, of course, to thank for this. In advance of the production’s run, Matthew Bourne said, ‘I’m thrilled that for the for first revival of our 2016 hit, The Red Shoes, most of the original leading cast will be returning, including Ashley Shaw in her multi award-winning performance as Victoria Page.’ Shaw and the rest of the cast are talented storytellers as well as dancers, making it incredibly easy to become caught up in the narratives of their characters.

Aside from Bourne’s beautiful choreography, his use of sound is exceptional. Of course, music is central to any ballet, but Bourne uses sound in a truly original way. He is not afraid of sudden loud noises, moments of silence or using music for comedic effect. When this unique use of sound is combined with outstanding cinematic staging, you cannot help but be struck by the hard work and talent that has gone into every aspect of this production.

If you have not yet had a chance to watch one of Matthew Bourne’s ballets before, now is the time to do so. The Red Shoes captured my attention in a way that dance had not previously done and I found myself very quickly caught up in the story and its characters. Matthew Bourne creates ballet that is both accessible and modern, making The Red Shoes the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the powerful storytelling nature of dance.

Tickets for Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes at the Theatre Royal Plymouth are available here: https://theatreroyal.com/whats-on/mb-the-red-shoes/

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