Matthew Bourne's 'Cinderella'
9th March 2018
Review by Freya Garner, member of Activate's Youth Board
I had looked forward to this production, set in London during the Blitz. From the opening with the sound of air raids and strobes lighting and clips from the newsreels of the war, the atmosphere was set. Cinderella’s family consisted of three stepbrothers and two step sisters and an evil stepmother and a disabled father. The fairy godmother part was played by a man and instead of the fairy godmother he was known as the angel and the prince was a pilot who had been injured in a the crash of his airplane.
The costumes were all excellent and some of the dance routines included the dancers wear gas masks in a dance that patrolled the streets in overalls. For example in the angel’s dance routine he wore all white and for when he was making Cinderella’s wish come true there was a group dance routine of other angels in white overalls with pilots’ hats and goggles which made them intimidating and added to the confusion of the scene.
Cinderella finally made it to the ball where, instead of a ball at the palace it was a party in a nightclub called the Café de Paris and she danced with the pilot. The music added to the atmosphere as Bourne chose Prokofiev who wrote the original score to the ballet. The performance ended happily with the shoe being given to the rightful owner and a wedding.
The choreography linked to the era and used airplanes and movement of pilots in their uniforms. I would say this would be fantastic for audiences of all ages and by telling an old fairytale through dance in a specific era of the 1940s, it added an engaging interpretation to a recognized story.