Bourne’s Cinderella dances as the bombs drop

Cinderella by Prokofiev,directed by Mathew Bourne
Cinderella by Prokofiev,directed by Mathew Bourne
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IT IS Cinderella, but not as you know the much loved fairy-tale, but then, this Cinderella is the work of choreographer extraordinaire Matthew Bourne and his New Adventures ballet company, so you’d hardly expect anything too conventional.

Bourne’s interpretation of the classic fairy tale, which tours to the Festival Theatre next week, has a war-time romance at its heart when a chance meeting results in a magical night for Cinderella and her dashing young RAF pilot, together just long enough to fall in love before being parted by the horrors of the Blitz.

“I first fell in love with Prokofiev’s score through watching Frederick Ashton’s version of the ballet for The Royal Ballet,” explains Bourne.

“Although composed as a fairy-tale piece, it has Prokofiev’s particular 20th century musical personality stamped all over it... but lurking beneath the fairy-tale magic, there beats a darker heart with real emotions and dramatic longing.

“Prokofiev’s Cinderella was premiered at the Bolshoi in 1946 and Ashton’s much performed version followed in 1948, but I was intrigued to hear that Prokofiev had actually written the score during the Second World War.

“This got me thinking. Was this dark period in our history, somehow captured within the music? I felt that it was, and the more I delved into the Cinderella story, it seemed to work so well in the wartime setting.

“Darkly romantic in tone, it speaks of a period when time was everything, love was found and lost suddenly and the world danced as if there was no tomorrow.”

Fresh from the triumph of playing Victoria Page in The Red Shoes, the role of Cinderella will be performed by Cordelia Braithwaite and Ashley Shaw, with Cinderella’s heroic Pilot, Harry, danced by Will Bozier, Andrew Monaghan and Dominic North.

The Angel (Fairy GodFather) will be danced by Paris Fitzpatrick and Liam Mower, while Cinderella’s Step-Mother will be performed by Madelaine Brennan and Anjali Mehra.

Cinderella’s Father sees Alan Vincent and Dan Wright share the role.

Bourne adds, “Cinderella is one of my most heartfelt works and a personal favourite amongst my re-imagined classic stories. I’m delighted to have brought together this cast of current star performers, experienced New Adventures veterans and exciting young talent.

“I’m thrilled to see another generation of Company dancers take on this beloved production.”

Cinderella, Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, Tuesday 5-Saturday 9 June, 7.30pm (2.30pm), £19-£48.50, 0131-529 6000