Gosh, what a wonderful, beautiful, magical night we had!
Where to start on a show which was so jam-packed with things to see?
Just walking into the Hippodrome and to our seats, you could tell something was difference. It wasn’t just the glistering blue shoe on the curtain on stage, but also the signs on the wall, warning us on how to behave in case of an air raid.
Yes, air raid. Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella is set in World War 2, in 1940 London. This may seem odd and unusual for a fairy tale where we expect a prince and not are raids and soldiers, but the choice of setting is much more plausible when you remember that Prokofiev composed the music in the middle of the war.
Just as surprising is the rather modern take on the ballet. No tutus, no point shoes, but still all the essential elements of a great ballet: glorious music (with a live orchestra, of course), every emotive characters and beautiful smooth dancing.
This is the ideal ballet for anyone who is new to the dance form. The story is well-known, despite Cinderella (Ashley Shaw) living in war time London, her prince being a pilot (Dominic North) and her fairy godmother an angel (Liam Mower) and as I overheard someone pointing out during the second interval, it is fascinating how much can be expressed simply through music, dance and basic facial expressions or props. It is true, you never even notice there are no words, because nothing is missing. If anything, there is so much happening on stage, you hardly know where to look. Whenever I focused on one scene, it seemed I was missing something else in another corner of the stage and so I could watch this show all week and still discover new elements – and that is the best kind of show.
But it wasn’t just the show, it was the stage as well which was marvellous. There were intricate details, and while I still don’t understand the mechanics of how the backdrop of London works or how some of the effects appeared, it pulled me in and fascinated me from the moment I sat down to the moment the curtain closed on the last chassé the angel did in his final bow.
Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella runs at the Bristol Hippodrome runs until Saturday, March 24 with a matinee and evening performance on Thursday and Saturday and an evening performance on Wednesday and Friday. You can get tickets here.