Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes – Bristol Hippodrome REVIEW

Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes returns to UK stages for the first time since 2017 to dance its way back into our hearts.  

This production is based on the 1948 film but mainly consists of a ballet within a ballet. A Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale within a classic yet tragic story. The main character of Victoria Page finds herself excelled to the peak of her career as she is cast in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Red Shoes after catching the attention of the lingering boss, Lermontov. It’s not long before she is forced to choose between her new love Julian Craster and career of dancing which has just taken off. 

We are treated to the pick of the bunch of the New Adventures dancers with the glorious Liam Mower as both Grischa Ijubov, the striking Dominic North as Julian Craster and beautiful Cordelia Braithwaite as Victoria Page. Not only are they excellent dancers but also incredibly strong actors, which is needed for Bourne’s often story-heavy ballets. 

North and Braithwaites duets were simply stunning, brimming with love and euphoria which clashed wonderfully with Glenn Graham’s spikey and cold portrayal of Boris Lermontov. The pair floated across the stage in a series of elegant and challenging lifts, making every movement look effortless. 

Choreography, as always, is exquisite from Bourne. From romantic duets to comical waltzes and daft parodies of Egyptian Sand Dance, he never misses a beat or a trick. Bourne is always as ingenious and clever, yet powerful and moving as his last work. 

The scenery and lighting added more sheer brilliance to this production. The rotating red velvet curtains brings the magic of theatre to the forefront of the production and rotates to provide opportunities for smooth and slick scene changes. As the show goes on the lighting reflects the change as Victoria slips on her ballet shoes, creating a surreal, dream-like world which is as red as her footwear. 

The cast are enchanting and the rest of the production matches perfectly. Bourne’s The Red Shoes gifts you with an immersive and delightful evening that will stay with you forever. 

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