Matthew Bourne's Cinderella (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella (UK Tour) 
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 19th June 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

Making a return to the stage after debuting 20 years ago, Matthew Bourne's Cinderella is a departure from the traditional setting we know and instead takes place in 1940's London against the backdrop of war, air raid sirens and the blitz. Sergei Prokofiev wrote the hauntingly desperate score during the Second World War so it's seems only fitting to set the ballet then.

Act One begins with the dancers appearing in grey, depressing London before transitioning to Cinderella's blacked out house. This initial darkness shows the desperation and loneliness that our lead character feels from the onset. In the house we are introduced to a number of creepy, bizarre characters who become more and more excited as they receive their invites to the ball.

Ashley Shaw's Cinderella is surprisingly comical and and exciting to watch. Her duet a dressmaking dummy was a personal stand out moment and highlighted Shaw's versatility as a dancer and an actress. As her romantic lead, Andrew Monaghan is tormented but powerful throughout. The two are wonderful together and create moments of theatrical brilliance.

The traditional 'Fairy-Godmother role is subverted in this production to be an Angel  played by a man,  Liam Mower. Mower does an outstanding job is his sharp white suit, of guiding Cinderella whilst also appearing to be an all seeing protector of London who at one point rushes off to seemingly intercept a bomb!

Lez Brotherston's set is a love letter to Wartime London. It is intricate but simplistic and highlights iconic London scenes such as Embankment and the Underground with flawless grace. The use of film and the train station are especially reminiscent of Brief Encounter and allow us to be transported to a painfully magical time. The Café de Paris is particularly moving as it becomes a smashed shell of war torn London.

This is a show with a modern twist that is full of enough heart and magic to make you want to watch it over and over. There is extravagance and simplicity in equal measure and this is a truly unmissable fairytale.

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella runs at the New Victoria Theatre until June 23rd

photo credit: Johan Persson