New Theatre (formerly known as Apollo Theatre)
13 May 2011 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella may use the traditional score by Prokofiev but this production is anything but traditional. From the moment the audience walk into the auditorium the sound of planes and air raid sirens transport you to the world of wartime Britain. Although this may seem like an odd setting for Cinderella it works perfectly, with the monochrome sets and costumes fitting the dark foreboding sound of Prokofiev’s score.
In this new setting Cinderella’s prince becomes a wounded pilot and the ballroom becomes her fantasy after she is knocked out by an explosion, the fairy godmother is replaced by a guardian angel complete with motorbike.
Kerry Biggin in the title was superb both as a meek brunette in the first act and then in her fantasy world in the second act was transformed into an outgoing blonde.
Indeed what really stood out was the acting ability of all the dancers. Although they never spoke all the characters from the glamorous scheming stepmother (whose look owed something to Joan Crawford) to the prostitutes in the Underground station all had real personalities and brought a surprising amount humour to the ballet alongside all the darkness. It certainly made a difference from traditional ballets where the corps de ballet is designed to be as identical as possible, here the opposite was true and it worked beautifully.
The dancers were aided by some superb sets ranging from an underground station to a military hospital and a bombed out ballroom that the angel rebuilds and reanimates so Cinderella can have her ball . It seemed that so much thought had gone into making everything fit the setting from the public information film at the start to the period costumes and changes to the story leading to Cinderella and the Pilot departing for their honeymoon on a train (which moved on and off stage!) while in the background another couple had a brief encounter moment. The highest praise I can give New Adventure’s production is that I am now struggling to remember what Cinderella looks like or how it works when done in a traditional classical setting anything other than a wartime setting somehow seems wrong.
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