Matthew Bourne’s Second World War staging was first aired in 1997, before a revival in 2010 leading to this 2017 slightly re-worked reprise and it makes for an uncompromising interpretation of the famous yarn.
The influences of cinema on Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes are everywhere. Walking into Sadler’s Wells one sees that the stage is hidden behind an old style cinema curtain. The impression is both enchanting and effective, for Bourne’s latest offering is, in its elements, a ballet about a movie, about a ballet.
By Bourne’s own admittance the familiar story of Sleeping Beauty always left him ‘a little cold’ – understandably so – it is a tale about a Princess who spends most of her time asleep. Taking his inspiration from Tchaikovsky’s score and the original fairytale, Bourne plays with our expectations of the well-loved tale and adds further layers to the story, with a surprising twist and new characters – Sleeping Beauty is a faultless and magical production. Giving us all the visual clues that we need to experience the story in a new and refreshing way – there is no finer storyteller than Matthew Bourne.
I managed another nine show (plus one movie!) week, with one of those theatre visits in Southampton, and even managed to have one night off in the middle of it for an office dinner! So I’ve hardly had time to catch my breath all week, but am looking forward to three weeks off now as I head back to the US tomorrow — or at least ‘off’ from London, with only a few theatre outings planned while I’m out there for a change.