Hollywood drama, the power of desire and a love triangle – what’s not to love? Matthew Bourne magically intersects the adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Red Shoes and the 1948 film adaptation with a beautifully told play within a play ballet dramatisation.
Bourne – known for the “freedom” of interpretation of his creations – strikes again, setting the character of Victoria Page and her love interests within the dazzling Golden Age of Hollywood. Victoria represents the American Dream through her aspirations of becoming a successful ballet dancer in the company rather than falling into in the shadows of ensemble dancers. Personally I found that Bourne also emphasises the ensemble roles rather than just the principle cast.
“LIVELY, INVENTIVE AND BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED – THE RED SHOES TRIUMPHS”
THE SUNDAY TIMES
As a ballet about a ballet, mixing different dancing styles and stories, Bourne creates the perfect performance for first-timers to introduce themselves to this type of shows. It demonstrates the struggles of being in the arts industry, including every step of the process from production; creation of the story and composing, rehearsal, post production and opening night using representations of the prima donnas, comedic double acts and rising stars.
The Red Shoes is a story of corruption as protagonist Victoria becomes more and more famous after being given The Red Shoes that make her dance non-stop. Alongside symbolisation, the use of the colour red is heavily presented in this adaptation which is key to Bourne’s ballets. One significant scene is the visual use of technical theatre whereby the original story (Christian Anderson’s version) is told through the use of black and white costumes, staging and flickering lighting as if you are actually watching a Golden Hollywood film, all whilst being framed by the coloured ‘current’ period of the late 1940’s Hollywood era (1948 film).