Things I have learnt in the last week… if you’re going to see a ballet make sure you know the storyline beforehand as there is No Dialogue – which means that unless you are extremely high brow (which sadly I’m not) it’s pretty hard to work out what’s going on, especially if you’re watching a ballet within an ballet – i.e. One with two storylines. The ballet you’re watching and the ballet being performed by the ballerinas within the ballet you are watching.
Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes was exactly this – two storylines – one ballet – no dialogue. It’s an intense story about the conflict between love and dedication and one that is brilliantly portrayed in this show.
It was a visual feast. Beautiful staged and the costumes were phenomenal. And as the touring ballet troupe went from Paris to Monte Carlo to Covent Garden to perform their ballet (within the ballet) their costumes and the accompanying music reflected these different places. My favourite definitely being the JPG-inspired costumes when the troupe are in Monte Carlo.
Feeling rather discombobulated at the end of the first half – I was lucky enough to have the concept explained to me by a rather well educated 10-year-old girl (hmmmm) and suddenly it all made sense. A quick Google to check up on points that she missed out made all the slots fit into place and I went back to the second half eager to see how it all played out. I was not disappointed, the ballet was great.
All in all I would say that once I’d got over the lack of dialogue and Googled the storyline, I was fully immersed and thoroughly enjoyed every minute.