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Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes – Bristol Hippodrome REVIEW

A Hans Christian Anderson story fairytale within a classic yet tragic movie, adapted by a inspired choreographer who incorporated classic Hollywood music and a plethora of dance styles.

The Red Shoes follows the story of Victoria Page, torn between her love for dancing and the man she falls so deeply for. Cordelia Braithwaite was a flawless and mesmerising lead. She not only had faultless technique but a certain quality that made her stand out, even when she was dancing among the practiced ensemble – perhaps it was her enviable pirouettes.

Liam Mower also stood out amongst an incredibly strong cast. Since seeing him years ago as Billy Elliot and in multiple Matthew Bourne productions since then I have admired him both as a dancer and actor.


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Breathtaking costumes not only clearly depicted the era and location but also allowed my inner child to squeal and gaze in awe. The transitions were so slick you barely knew they happened, transporting you from Monte Carlo to the East End. Particularly when Victoria and the other dancers began the opening night of “The Red Shoes”, the idea of a ballet within a ballet was clear yet not explicit. I also thought the rotating proscenium arch was wonderfully utilised and a massive asset to the story.

Every element had a clear purpose, aiding the story telling and allowing for further understanding. Some details were lost but very little compared to a classical ballet. This is why I think Matthew Bourne is as popular as he is. He makes ballet more accessible than it has ever been. Injects life and humour into a genre people can often find confusing and dull. He always has the audience in the palm of his hand, driving you to laugh, cry and hold your breath until you can hear a pin drop.

With a reputation like his I had high hopes that were only exceeded. He teamed aesthetically beautiful scenery and visuals with top class dancing and storytelling to create an unforgettable modern masterpiece, proving his genius once more.

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