Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella Review

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield – until 19th May 2018.

Reviewed by Sophie Dodworth


For the majority, Cinderella is an ingrained tale from childhood, full of excitement, magic and pretty dresses. This theme is transferred on to the stage at The Lyceum but with so much more to offer. This version of Cinderella will have you pause in time, while you drink up the atmospheric elixir that Matthew Bourne is about to serve to you.

Matthew Bourne is well known for adapting popular plots and really filling out the content to the nth degree. The way that he almost finishes off adding the ingredients to story lines that you think can go no further, leaves audiences full of admiration.

The story is set in the 1940s and the essence of the era is delivered to you with gust in the first few scenes. The magnificent way that the performance starts with a cinema like screen, introducing the company is a real treat, moving on to a humorous version of what to do in the case of an air raid. In the first few scenes you see the Lindy Hop, Jive and some Charleston to really get you tasting the war time air.

Ashley Shaw, playing Cinderella is the star of the show with some fantastic duets, solos and innovative routines; for instance, in one scene she dances with 5 men all at once, assuming the typical male/female dancing hold position, done so tightly. The Angel, played by Liam Mower is one of the most captivating, professional performers. He manages to really capture the qualities of an angel and even though the costume is without wings, his fluid movements and wing like arms, almost paint them on with the imagination.

The ensemble were absolutely spot on, not a movement out of place, or at least not noticed. Clearly a very professional and well rehearsed cast with some great choreographic moments. A particular stand out moment is a scene when they are depicting drunken people in a bar, all extremely accurate and humorous.

Bournes’ choreography is challenging, intricate and ambitious; executed to perfection. Some very clever moments throughout the whole piece, keeping the audience on their toes and visually entwined in the artistic flair. A moment that must be mentioned is Cinderella dancing with a mannequin, a short way in to this scene, a dancer from the cast becomes the mannequin and it is such a show of talent, leaving you smiling in awe.

Lez Brotherston must take credit and a pat on the back for some beautiful costumes, especially the ball gown of Cinderellas’ which glistens and gleams on what seems like every single silver sequin that is sewn on. He also orchestrated the most interesting, accurate to the times, but almost modern-gothic set; an eye catching triumph.

Cinderella is a dance piece that dreams are made of. If you are a dance fan, a Cinderella fan or just a fan of jam-packed, joyful, whimsical theatre this is a must see.

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