Wednesday, 20 June 2018

REVIEW: Matthew Bourne's Cinderella at New Victoria Woking


Matthew Bourne's company New Adventure have a prestigious reputation for exciting contemporary ballet and this revival of the 1997 production of Prokofiev's Cinderella arrives at Woking after its latest tour. It based on a beautifully conceived resetting of the fairy story into war torn London during the blitz. It draws it's inspiration from the black and white films of the era including the romantic film Brief Encounter and starts with Pathe news footage. 

The staging is set within the ruined walls which provide a background to the various London locations which are elegantly designed by Lez Brotherston including The Cafe de Paris , the London Embankment, an underground station and Paddington station with back clothes of St Paul's Cathedral and London skylines. The air raid sirens and aircraft search lights add to the period setting. 

The basic story of Cinderella is of course well known but in this version she has not only two step sisters but three step brothers and her father is in a wheelchair. Her Prince is Harry the damaged RAF pilot and her godmother is The Angel. The production runs for 2 hours thirty minutes over three acts .What makes this show so unique is Matthew Bourne's distinctive style of ballet dance. It is a long way from traditional ballet and draws strongly from musical theatre with each dancer given their own character even in the ensemble chorus routines . This creates evocative pictures and where ever you look on the stage there is a sub plot unfolding, although the step brother with a foot fetish is perhaps overplayed.

Ashley Shaw is a wonderful graceful nimble Cinderella especially once she meets
her Pilot played by Andrew Monaghan. However Liam Mower as The Angel provides the dance highlights with his athletic solo routines and glides across the stage with an ethereal presence. Madeleine Brennan is Sybil , the evil drunken stepmother who has little regard for her husband or Cinderella. There is a charming sequence when Cinderella dances with a mannequin who she imagines is Harry and lively chorus routines as ARP wardens and guests at Cafe de Paris.

The score and pre recorded orchestration is pleasant without being outstanding but it is Bourne's strong sense of narrative story telling without words and modern contemporary dance that make this show so enjoyable to watch.

Review by Nick Wayne 

Rating: ★★★★

Stalls: Row K | Price: £48.90


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