Cinderella, Matthew Bourne.

Photo Credit: Johan Persson
Theatre Royal, Nottingham

Matthew Bourne's choreography and directing have made him nationally recognised for his exceptional work. Nobody ever walks out after watching one of his New Adventures shows not blown away and Cinderella is an exceptional example of dance artistry from Matthew Bourne. This piece was first staged 20 years ago but even now manages to feel as current as it was back then. 

This rendition of the traditional fairytale is set in the midst of World War II and the prince charming is a handsome RAF pilot. There are roaring sirens and deafening blasts played as you realise you are in the days of the Blitz, this tears the two lovers apart but of course they'll reach their happily ever after at the end. 

The piece has had some cuts and revisions since it was first created by Bourne in 1997, however, Act Three remains completely how it was initially designed. 

The well-known story is set in London during the Blitz. Matthew Bourne's Cinderella captures the English whimsy and romance but in the story of wartime love and conflict. With the designer Lez Brotherson the result is a multi-sensory detail like no other. The set design and use of projection made this more than your typical dance production, it was stunning. 

The opening scene of Act Two in The Cafe de Paris was particularly poignant to my experience of the show. Transitioning from the after-effects of a bomb to a fairytale ballroom and back again flowed well within the structure and was well constructed. Drawing on this particular incident in history added a reality to what took place on 8 March 1941. 

The choreography within the production managed to integrate Contemporary and Ballet alongside some familiar styles of the 1940's. There were some really thrilling elements within the production. I loved the variety of dynamics in which Matthew Bourne draws on through the storyline. No part is the same and the space is constantly shifting with different bodies as they work through a series of energetic and articulate movement. There were gasps of 'oooo' next to me as some of the dancers through themselves through the air and floor portraying different atmospheres and energies. 

Photo Credit: Johan Persson 
Photo Credit: Johan Persson
Ashley Shaw who took on the title role as Cinderella continues to amaze audiences with her fluidity and precision. After seeing her perform in The Red Shoes last year I was so excited that she would be back in a leading role. What I loved about Ashley's performance was that the expression and emotion were portrayed through her facial expressions and body language, as much as it was in her excellent movement. Andrew Monaghan definitely responded well to Ashley's strength and established himself as an excellent performer as Harry, The Pilot. I loved watching their chemistry build throughout the production and it drew you in exactly where you wanted.

Of course, the production couldn't have been as eye-catching and enjoyable without the other dancers who create the company. I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing another one of Matthew Bourne's work and feel as though he presents a platform in Dance that inspires a new generation.

You can see Matthew Bourne's Cinderella at Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall Nottingham until Sat 10 March. You can also check out where this production is performing at a venue near you by heading over to the New Adventures website

If you enjoyed this review you may also enjoy reading my review of Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes

1 comment

  1. Oh it looks stunning, wish I had seen it. Loved his Edwards Scissor Hands xx