Review: Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella. Nottingham Theatre Royal.

It is rare that one could name a show as ‘perfect in every way’ but Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella with its enlivening and sometimes haunting Prokofiev score is that creature in ballet shoes. Just absolutely perfect!

Credit : Johan Persson /

The storyline takes us through London in the Blitz where a put upon Cinderella (Ashley Shaw) falls in love with Harry – the pilot (Andrew Monaghan) and is dance guided through the dark dangers of the Blitz to find her true love in Harry by The Angel (Liam Mower).

The costume and set designs by Lez Brotherston are superbly realised especially the Cafe De Paris set that rises out of its bombed out ashes and the London Underground tunnels rife with sexual encounters. The final set piece recreates a platform on Piccadilly Station complete with a train carriage romantically arriving and departing as in the film Brief Encounter.

The attention to detail in the dance, the drama, the humour and the characters is spot on and from this, the ballet becomes extremely accessible. The energy and the ballet dance skills shown by the Cinderella company are top class professional. Whilst the step mother and step sisters and step brothers aren’t as downright nasty as the Grimm’s fairy tale or a traditional panto there is a cruelty and haughtiness shown to Cinderella throughout. Madelaine Brennan’s Step Mother character Sybil is particularly well realised as is the freaky shoe fetish step brother. The whole talented New Adventures ensemble can’t put a foot wrong in this superbly crafted realisation of the romantic tale of Cinderella finding her ‘prince’ through the thick and thin of wartime Britain.

Highly recommended.

Reviewer: Phil Lowe.

Cinderella runs at Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 10th March.

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