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WOS Radio: Mear & Thomas Show Us Their Shoes

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Last night (6 September 2010) Whatsonstage.com theatregoers battled the London tube strike for an Outing to the world premiere production of Shoes at Sadler's Wells – and, despite the transport troubles, stayed on afterwards for an extended, highly entertaining, and occasionally X-rated (!) post-show Q&A with the show’s creator, composer and writer Richard Thomas and director and principal choreographer Stephen Mear.

Billed as a 'dance revue' that explores “the gamut of footwear" with musical numbers including “Vex in the City”, “Imelda Marcos Argues with the Nation” and “The Flip-Flop Paradigm”, Shoes is the first large-scale stage production from Richard Thomas since his multi award-winning but controversial 2003 hit Jerry Springer - The Opera.

Shoes is performed by a cast of 12 dancers, four singers (Australia's Kate Miller-Heidke and West End stars Alison Jiear, Simon Gleeson and Tim Howar), and a live band. Mear invited guest choreographers - including Aletta Collins, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and ZooNation’s Kate Prince - to create selected numbers for the show which blends a number of dance styles around the central footwear theme.

At last night's Q&A, chaired by Whatsonstage.com editorial director Terri Paddock, Thomas and Mear discussed, amongst other topics: the process of creating the piece, which features no fewer than 250 pairs of shoes on stage; the initial pitch to Sadler's Wells; why shoes are a metaphor for life (or is it sex?); how footwear affects dancers; and future projects, not least Thomas’ forthcoming opera based on the late “gold-digger” Anna Nicole Smith, which premieres at the Royal Opera House next year.

The pair also tipped Shoes for an early 2011 six- to nine-week season at the Peacock Theatre in the West End, prior to touring and an eventual return to Sadler’s Wells.

To listen to the full recording of the Q&A, click the 'play' button below; or to subscribe and download from iTunes, click here.

For more photos and commentary from last night’s event, visit our Outings blog and for further information and booking for upcoming Whatsonstage.com Outings, click here.


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