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Matthew Bourne's Cinderella (Plymouth)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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MATTHEW Bourne’s Midas touch is given to the classic tale of Cinderella giving a sense of purpose to a specially commissioned new recording of Prokofiev’s brooding score.

Set in London during the bombings, Bourne’s revised Cinderella is a wartime romance and a heady blend of dream and reality played in cinematic technicolour and with surround sound.

Created to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Blitz, Lez Brotherston’s award-winning set and costume designs are breath-taking and evocative of the glitz and devastation of the 1940s capital.

Scenes of bomb blasted ruins, basement partying, 1940s hearth and home, Paddington Station and the Embankment are executed in fine detail and offset by Pathe newsreels of the time. The images are breath-taking.

Bourne’s New Adventures showcases the popular and technically excellent Sam Archer as Harry the Pilot with Kerry Biggin as his sweet, daydreaming Cinderella but it is Michela Meazza as Sybil the Stepmother who commands the stage with her Cruella DeVille-like slinkiness and superb presence.

Christopher Marney glitters as the Angel who takes Cinders to the ball in his motorcycle and sidecar, and turns back time in a clever rewind of the bombing of the Cafe de Paris.

Bourne’s Cinderella is an experience inspired by the 1946 Powell and Pressburger classic film A Matter of Life and Death with scenes and characters stolen from other classic movies. Bourne’s characters come to life through fine dramatic detail – the shoe fetishist step-brother and irritating plane-mad youngest son to name but two.

There is always something to watch and much is missed as the stage is busy at all times with mini dramas being played out behind the main action – and many questions left unanswered: did she die? Is this a dream? (and how come dad can propel his own wheelchair but not lift his arm back into his lap?), were they dogs or aircrew?

And the ballet itself is excellent with the tremendous pas de deux with the manikin of particular note. A remarkable evening for ballet connoisseurs and an entertaining night out for all comers.


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