It was my 26th birthday earlier this month, so my darling younger sister decided to surprise me and take me to our local theatre in Milton Keynes to see Matthew Bourne’s adaptation of ‘Cinderella’.
Daisarella.com actually takes inspiration from the folk tale, so this was a perfect fit for the website and of course for my birthday celebrations.
There are so many adaptations of the folk tale of ‘Cinderella’ but one of the most famous is of course, Walt Disney’s 1950s animation which depicts the tale in a ‘fairy’ tale, magically romanticised format. I was intrigued to see how Matthew Bourne would add his element of dark contemporary dance to the tale (no spoilers below, just a simple outline of the show itself)…
Bourne’s take on the tale is focused around London during World War II with bombs shattering not only buildings, but lives of many of the main characters in the tale; including our beloved Cinders. The tale begins pretty conventionally in a drab house where Cinderella is being mistreated by a step-mother, step-sisters and step-bothers. All of the other main characters are included, but the Fairy Godmother comes in the form of an Angel dressed in sheer white and Prince Charming is an RAF pilot.
The show is divided into three acts, so there are two intervals for those of you like myself who need regular walking, drinking and loo breaks. The first act revolves around the family receiving invites to a ball, so not very far off the tale we all know and love. The step-family mock Cinders for not receiving an invite, and once she is left alone to dwell on this, her angel appears. The angel was my favourite character, and his sheer movement and leg and arm extensions are unbelievably flawless throughout all three acts. We are then introduced to the RAF pilot for the first time, but Cinders loses communication with him due to the war. The act ends by going into a menacing air raid, that will leave you revelling in your seat.
Act two was my least favourite for many reasons. The set is now based on the ball which all the step family are in attendance of. This is being held at the iconic, Café de Paris. This act went on for far too long and the angel brings all of the attendees of the ball back to life. This does slightly drag on and on, but the dancing is again, flawless. Cinderella descends the staircase in a beautiful gown where she is then once again reunited with her RAF pilot. Their dancing as a duet is spectacular and really brings the element of romance to life for the whole audience to admire. This act does get confusing in regards to what is actually a dream and what is actually reality for the couple. I feel there could have been more of a tale to define this part, but we are left knowing that the RAF pilot has one of the iconic glass slippers belonging to Cinderella.
Act three is of course, the ultimate climax and conclusion to the tale. The act starts in the London Underground, whereby the pilot is fighting his way around the city to find the owner of the other glass slipper. It concludes in a wonderful hospital scenario, and the step-family receive their comeuppance for mistreating the beloved Cinders. I would highly recommend this show for revellers of contemporary dance productions, or Matthew Bourne fans. If you’re somebody that enjoys the magic of Walt Disney, then this adaptation will leave you rather confused and feeling dismayed by the reality of life.
Matthew Bourne is one of the UK’s most popular and successful choreographers, and for over 30 years now he has been creating outstanding musicals, opera, theatre shows and films that have been award-winning. His New Adventures company never leaves you disappointed, and Cinderella is currently touring the UK, so find out how you can still catch a show here.