Review Roundup: RED SHOES at New York City Center
Matthew Bourne's production of RED SHOES runs through November 5 at the New York City Center. It is based on the film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale.
Victoria Page lives to dance, but her ambitions become a battleground between the two men who inspire her passion. A beloved fairytale and Academy Award-winning movie, The Red Shoes has seduced audiences and inspired generations of dancers with its story of obsession, possession, and one girl's dream to be the greatest dancer in the world.
The cast stars Sam Archer as Boris Lermontov, Cordelia Braithwaite, Sara Mearns, and Ashley Shaw alternating the role of Victoria Page, Marcelo Gomes and Dominic North alternating the role of Julian Craster, Nicole Kabera and Michela Meazza alternating the role of Irina Boronskaja, Will Bozier, Liam Mower, and Danny Reubens alternating the role of Ivan Boleslawsky, and Glenn Graham and Leon Moran alternating the role of Grischa Ljubov.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Brian Seibert, The New York Times: The production's greatest strength is the set design by Lez Brotherston, who also designed the costumes. The mobile proscenium swivels and spins all through the show, switching point of view with such smooth speed you can almost feel the wind. Smooth flow and swirling action are also the strengths of Mr. Bourne's choreography and direction. This production moves. But besides the set, its chief cleverness lies in its choice of music, a collage clipped from various film scores by Bernard Herrmann.
Sondra Forsyth, BroadwayWorld: His [Bourne's] campy take on The Red Shoes didn't work for me. Yes, the dancers from his New Adventures company are superb, in particular Ashley Shaw as Victoria Page -- a role in which she alternates for this run with New York City Ballet's Sara Mearns. Also yes, the stagecraft was amazing -- in particular the moment when the train approaches before Victoria Page jumps to her death... All of that said, watching Bourne's choreography is a joy in itself
Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News: Like the charmed red shoes that don't stop dancing once they're on a pair of feet, Bourne's ballet keeps moving. So it helps to be familiar with that story - or you might be puzzled at times during the show. But in the end, it all adds up... There's always something beautiful happening - graceful and athletic dancing, plus witty, period-perfect costumes and a seamlessly and theatrical scenic design by Lez Brotherston.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: One of the ballet's boldest creative strokes is the choice not to use music from the film, but instead to patch together a new musical accompaniment from vintage scores by canonic Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann - primarily Citizen Kane, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Fahrenheit 451, orchestrated by regular Bourne collaborator Terry Davies. The melancholy, powerfully emotional strains of Herrmann's music are perfect for a piece that ultimately becomes a ravishing dance of death... I'll leave it to the dance critics to weigh in on the finer points of the cast's technique. But in terms of sheer entertainment and invigorating visual storytelling, The Red Shoes is not to be missed.
Photo: Johan Persson