Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Red Shoes Second Time Round

The Angel and Karen in Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tale
Illustrator Vilhelm Pederson
Source Wikipedia

New Adventures The Red Shoes  The Lowry, 3 Dec 2016, 19:30

I enjoyed Friday's performance of The Red Shoes so much that I saw the show again last night. As I bought my ticket at the very last moment there were not many seats available. I had to settle fro the middle of row L in the upper circle.   That was too far back to see the dancers' facial expressions and I would not have known that a pistol had been produced in the romantic ballet but I saw the orchestra from the gods whereas they had been invisible from the stalls and I caught some details such as the reflections on the water at Villefrance-Sur-Mer which I had missed before.

The advantage of seeing The Red Shoes twice is that one picks up details that one missed first time round. For example, one of those details was the sounding of a train whistle when Vicky fell into the arms of Craster after dancing Karen in the Red Shoes at the end of Act I and again when she follows her husband after Lermontov orders him off the premises at the rehearsal of Concerto Macabre. The significance of those train whistles is that Victoria falls under the wheels of a train. Incidentally, I once took a train to Monaco from Èze and shuddered involuntarily as the train pulled into Monte Carlo - Monaco station because memories of the ending of the film flooded back.

One of the features of Bourne's choreography us to include a ballet within the overall work. There is a spoof ballet in his Swan Lake and there are two or possibly three ballet scenes in The Red Shoes.  The ballet within the film was created by Robert Helpmann who was a considerable choreographer in his day. It is sad that so little of his work is performed nowadays. Bourne has followed Helpmann's story quite faithfully but substituted his own choreography. I had forgotten the importance of the ballet within the ballet on Friday night but it is vital to the plot as it links Victoria's fate to the of Karen in Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale. I studied tt more carefully second time around and appreciated Brotherton's backdrops and costumes so much more the second time around.

Cordelia Braithwaite danced Victoria Page again but Dominic North danced Craster and Chris Trenfield Lermontov. North is my favourite male dancer at New Adventures. I expect much from him and he did not disappoint me. He danced with passion but also showed arrogance which almost persuaded me that Lermontov was right to get rid of him.  Trentfield portrayed Lermontov with sympathetically particularly the solos where I felt I detected remorse after Victoria had left the company. The new cast certainly gave me new insights into the show.

The Red Shoes have now left Manchester (alright SALFORD if you insist) and are on their way to Sadler's Wells where they will dance for 8 weeks. I hope to see them at the Alhambra when they reappear in the North. I feel drawn to this work in a way that I have never done so with a Bourne work before. That is one of the reasons why I described The Red Shoes as Sir Matthew's masterpiece.

No comments:

Post a Comment