Opera & BalletTheatre

Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes at The Lowry Manchester Review

26-30 November 2019

Reviewed by Jan Mellor

I am obsessed with Matthew Bourne’s performances – I have seen Red Shoes (so am eagerly here again), Swan Lake(twice!), Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet and so come well prepared for what the 2019 version of this performance was going to involve – however, one can never take Matthew and his amazing cast for granted, as he and they always strive for increased  perfection, an evolving storyline and an element of surprise to amaze every Matthew aficionado – such as myself.   

My friend with me had not seen ‘Red Shoes’ and was enthralled with the magnificent stage curtains prop that spins around throughout the show, bringing us as either the audience in front of the stage or behind the scenes dramatically – yet with what looks quite effortlessly – one flick of a dramatic switch.

The performance opens with a stern man in his tails greeting the audience soberly and soon the entrancing vision of the ballerinas erupts on stage dragging us all, so willingly, into the fantasy world of romance, beauty and alluring passion that oozes from every member of this awesome cast.

Yes, I was (within seconds) sucked in again!

The story of ambition, obsession, possession and cruelty is performed fervently, engulfing us all in the astounding score of Bernard Herrman. We were transported to London, Paris and Monte Carlo, to Covent Garden an opera house, a music hall and finally in front of a massive locomotive, leaving us all (as my friend commented at the interval), ‘mesmerised’ and ‘almost hypnotised’. Yes, it was magical.

This story of the golden age of Hollywood as one girl (Victoria Page – played sublimely by Ashley Shaw) who dreams of being the greatest dancer of all and how through this obsession is thrust into the arms of her equally obsessed ballet impresario Boris Lermontov – (played by the superb Adam Cooper , a world famous   dancer, actor, and choreographer – recognised immediately from the film Billy Elliott’), who originally obsessed with the art soon becomes obsessed with the dancer. Throughout the story of tragedy, determination, love and desire lies the wonderful dancer who although in love with the composer Julian Craster cannot give herself to him as she does to the dance, especially the dance whilst wearing the possessed red shoes. We know it will end in tragedy. All wonderful love stories do. The choreography, set  and score throughout the performance were superb – praise needs to go to Matthew Bourne (artistic director), Lez Brotherston (set and costume designer – gosh they were amazing) and (Paule Constable) lighting designer – I could list all the crew in my list as I appreciate how much work each and every person must have contributed to this show to make it look like such an effortless masterpiece.

Fantastic performance by each and every one! Matthew you must be so thrilled – I know the audience who stayed after the show for the unique opportunity to ask you questions, were!

Congratulations – another masterpiece!

It’s just a joy to experience – you will love it. The set is phenomenal, the costumes amazing, the musical hauntingly magnificent and the dancers are unreal – such talent.

Truly a work of art – an unbelievable performance! One of the most magnificent performance on stage you will ever see!

Rating: 5/5

Tickets cost from £20.50 to £25.50 (booking fees may apply).

Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes is at The Lowry in Manchester from 26-30 November 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.

The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000

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