Matthew Bourne is now world renowned for his flare of reinvention, taking classic tales and turning them on their head. Perhaps the tale of Cinderella is not as drastically morphed in comparison to his other works such as Swan Lake, but this production is certainly as mesmerising.
Transplanted to a war-torn London the performance is littered with strong visual imagery and iconic war time memories depicted through the use of video footage, haunting staring gas masks, and heroic pilots. Lez Brotherston’s design brings the setting to startling life through the use of tall, devastated buildings and collapsing crumbling facades.
Bourne has an undeniable knack in telling a story through his choreography, which has never been more evident than in this production. The dance evokes a sense of character and emotion whilst also building on the complete aesthetic of the piece. Prokofiev’s haunting score lends well to the majority of the action but can sometimes seem detached from the movement that is created on stage.
Kerry Biggin is a geeky and prim Cinderella who makes a wonderful transformation once liberated by her Angel (or fairy godmother). The role of the Angel is especially interesting in this adaptation as the character becomes a cupid like presence whom weaves the paths of fate and time to encourage Cinderella’s reunion with her prince.
The ever shifting plot line of the piece is taken further than the traditional Cinderella story through the use of additional sub-plots and outright changes to her plight. One of the most effective changes is the fact that Cinderella meets her prince, or fighter pilot in this case, at the beginnings of the first act - not during the ballroom scene in act two - making the pursuit of her love even more desperate.
This latest reinvention, despite some mismatches with its score, is proof that Matthew Bourne is still flying high as the captain of the commercial contemporary dance field.