Dance of delight: The Red Shoes walking the walk at Birmingham Hippodrome

Dance of delight: The Red Shoes walking the walk at Birmingham Hippodrome
News
Posted on 13 Feb 2020

Three years after its original much-heralded run at Birmingham Hippodrome, Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes has made its way back to the venue - and Zone was there to see it!
Check out our review below...


Sir Matthew Bourne's production of The Red Shoes is based upon the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale and Academy Award-winning film of the same name - and this exquisite ballet has followed the movie’s lead by picking up prestigious awards of its own, including two coveted Oliviers.

While Andersen’s original tale warned of the sin of vanity, the red shoes that never allowed the wearer to stop dancing became a potent symbol in the 1948 film. The motion picture gave an insight into the world of ballet and acknowledged the sacrifices made and rewards received for artistic ambition.


Up-and-coming ballet star Victoria Page and exciting composer Julian Craster fall in love, much to the dismay and disapproval of the dance company’s legendary impresario, Boris Lermontov. Believing great artists cannot allow themselves to be distracted by such frivolous matters of the heart, Lermontov gives them an ultimatum... 

As is always the case with a production by Sir Matthew's company, New Adventures, The Red Shoes overflows with beauty and vitality. The dancers are superb and their characterisation witty and authentic; the set is lavish, extensive and malleable; the costumes are gorgeous; and the score - from the film scores and concert music of renowned Hollywood composer Bernard Herrman - excites and tantalises the senses. 


I was particularly enamoured with Glenn Graham as flamboyant and unforgivingly tough ballet master & choreographer Grischa Ljubov, and Liam Mower as the expressive Premier Danseur Ivan Boleslawsky. Dominic North also astounded, giving the most heartfelt and technically divine performance as love-struck composer Craster. This is a production in which the men in particular steal the show.

If there is one aspect of The Red Shoes which disappoints, it’s the ending. Without giving too much away, it tried to follow the plot of the film. However, it is presented in slightly too much of an abstract to convey the narrative correctly.


That one relatively insignificant grumble aside, however, The Red Shoes is a real triumph of a show, and well worth catching before it dances out of the second city this weekend.

The production shows at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 15 February.

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