Towards the end of March, Matthew Bourne’s and New Adventures touring company came to the Mayflower Theatre. In a full house on opening night, there is no denying that this is Bourne’s most successful production yet and with good reason.
Having been shown on BBC One on Christmas Day, shown in cinemas in February through theatre live-streaming and touring the country since 2017 – it is no wonder word of mouth has gotten around to the Southampton area about the largest production yet.
The largest production in many scales including a three-act production instead of two and an incredible set. Recreating the bombed streets of London to the underground of Paddington Station; it is interesting to know that those set pieces have been touring around the country and yet so well placed and positioned amongst the backgrounds it gave the impression of permanent pieces at the Mayflower Theatre.
As It’s my third-year watching Matthew Bourne productions, with a history of dance myself – I’ve always felt that Cinderella was more about the acting and storytelling rather than the style of dance, however the use of dance, especially the swing style (perfect for the 1940 London Blitz setting) the play became so much more than just storytelling or acting.
Although everyone’s dancing was naturally flawless including the Fairy Godfather or ‘Angel’ Liam Mower, a reflection of his old role as Carbosse in Sleeping Beauty, another gender-inverted role. One place where I felt confused, was the ball scene where we cannot tell who is living or dying following the London Blitz and most of all, Cinderella’s hair colour significantly changing from a mousey brunette to a classic blonde. There must have been a good reason for this break of continuity – possibly a transformation of the character.
Overall, Matthew Bourne has done it again and has escalated it to a wider audience still! Timeless, vintage and visually stunning through set pieces, costume and use of colour. It is no wonder the theatre was fully packed just in time for the Easter holidays, a treat better than chocolate!
Watch out for when the legend returns to Southampton with Swan Lake coming February 2019.