Starting Over

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella

We started the year with Matthew Bourne's dance-theatre piece Cinderella, at Sadler's Wells. Bourne as always presents a spectacularly visually exciting and enjoyable work, basing his version of Cinderella in London's Blitz (the time in which the score was written). Choreography, direction, dancing and set and design all fit together to make for a superb production.

Cinderella isn't one for those looking for experimentation or boundary pushing dance (though Sadler's Wells does plenty of this elsewhere in its programme) but is instead a perfectly formed Xmas season entertainment, which works well as dance both telling a story and producing a spectacle.

Bourne is loyal to Prokofiev's score, and while making a few small cuts and revisions, leaves the third act complete. Setting the dance in the 1940s reveals the darker heart of Prokofiev's score and the dramatic tension within the music. Bourne also pays intelligent homage to classic film about and of the period - Powell and Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death, the classic Brief Encounter, and the actors Cary Grant, Fred Astaire and Joan Crawford.

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