Review: The Red Shoes - Lost in the magical world of Bourne

Ashley Shaw as Victoria Page in Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes
Ashley Shaw as Victoria Page in Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes
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MATTHEW Bourne’s radiant production of The Red Shoes is storytelling at its most intimate... and spectacular. The long-awaited new work celebrating 30 years of his New Adventures dance company is sumptuous at every level and lead by three of the country’s best loved and most talented dancers.

Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street

* * * * * *

Ashley Shaw, Dominic North and Liam Mower are supreme - playing Victoria Page, Julian Craster, and Ivan Boleslawsky, respectively on the night in question - while Sam Archer, dancing the role of Boris Lermontov is equally bewitching.

Inspired by the 1948 film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, a love triangle lies at the heart of The Red Shoes.

At the Lermontov Ballet, a new work is about to premiered, this is a ballet within a ‘ballet’.

Victoria Page has always dreamed of becoming prima ballerina, Julian Craster of being a composer.

When their paths cross at the Lermontov Ballet, fate plays an ace, conspiring to make their dreams come true and ensuring Cupid’s arrow scores a bull’s-eye. The pair fall in love.

As in all great love stories, the path of romance is never easy. Enter ballet supremo Boris Lermontov, whose desire for his new star is not reciprocated. Exit Victoria and Julian, cast out from the company they love and forced to play the music halls. Will love out, or must both sacrifice everything for their art?

Cinematic and awe-inspiring in scale, Lez Brotherston’s lush set is dominated by a magnificent gliding proscenium arch, draped with a ruby red curtain, that glides across the stage with all the choreographed precision of the dancers around it.

His vibrant costume designs, which include a nod to Tsarist Russia, are exquiste.

Bourne’s choreography is, as ever, eclectic; brave, delicate, forceful, sublime, and frequenlty laugh out funny, never more so that in an unexpected Sand Dance that effortlessly captures the essence and absurdism of Wilson, Keppel and Betty.

Bourne, who also directs, does not ‘do ballet’ in the classical sense, rather this is dance theatre at its finest.

Enhancing the drama, Terry Davies’ deft arrangement of Bernard Hermann’s music is rich and full; strident, jolly, mournful, swinging, and achingly beautiful when it soars.

To tell a story without words is a rare gift, one Bourne and New Adventures use to create a magical world you will never want to leave.

Until Saturday