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The Red Shoes review - Matthew Bourne's hauntingly beautiful tale of obsession

By Bedfordshire On Sunday  |  Posted: February 15, 2017

STARS IN HER EYES: Ashley Shaw as Victoria Page

STARS IN HER EYES: Ashley Shaw as Victoria Page

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MK Theatre
Until Saturday February 18, 2017

FROM curtain up to the final bow, Matthew Bourne's new production of The Red Shoes fizzes with imagination and personality.

The sets are nothing short of masterpieces, moving about the stage as deftly as the dancers themselves.

The music, the star of the wordless dramatic dreamworld created by Bourne and his New Adventures troupe.

Like its formidable 1948 silver screen inspiration, the story of The Red Shoes traces the rise and tragic fall of dancer Victoria Page (Ashley Shaw) and her struggle with love for composer Julian Craster (Dominic North) and obsession with the man who inspires her art, choreographer Boris Lermontov (Sam Archer).

Cleverly maintaining the 1940s styling of the original not only engenders warm memories of the film, but harks back to a golden era of theatre-going and the beginnings of the cult of celebrity.

This idea of celebrity and of a yearning for the spotlight at the heart of the story, no matter how destructive the consequences, is an idea which has a special significance in the time of reality TV talent searches and overnight YouTube sensations.

It's not even all about stardom; we all have our own 'Red Shoes'. I just wish I could dance as beautifully in mine.

All three lead dancers are first rate. Ashley Shaw delights as starry-eyed, flame-haired ballerina Victoria – full of angst and passion with choreographer Boris; trance-like with Julian. Some of the most beautiful sequences occur between the two lovers.

Together with Lez Brotherston's stunning backdrops and Paule Constable's delicate lighting, duets by the sea in Monte Carlo and during the performance of The Red Shoes ballet were some real stand-out moments.

The rest of the cast deserve more than just a mention also. It is the personality and interplay between co-dancers which makes the show such fun to watch.

From the audience it is clear to see that those red slippers not only inspire the characters on stage, but the dancers behind them.

The likes of Liam Mower, Anjail Mehra, Kate Lyons and Stephanie Billiers clearly have more than a dash of red flowing through their dancers' veins.

Bringing an iconic film to the stage is always a risky business, but with Bourne and co. we are in safe hands.

Tickets for the show - which runs until Saturday, February 18 - start at £15.50. Online and phone bookings also carry a transaction fee of £2.85 (excluding Theatre Card & Groups) - call 0844 871 7652 or visit atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

After Milton Keynes, The Red Shoes continues its tour in Norwich and continues at various venues until July, you can find future dates at new-adventures.net/the-red-shoes/tour-dates

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