The company continues its 30th anniversary celebrations with a dark reimagining of a classic fairytale

As the sound of bombs dropping around St Paul’s Cathedral rips through Sadler’s Wells, the auditorium is literally reverberating. It’s a frighteningly powerful evocation of London during the Blitz. Amid the chaos, dancers in gas masks emerge from the clouds of dust, policemen patrol the streets and sirens wail – an unsettling backdrop against which a pilot hunts for the girl with the missing slipper.

Matthew Bourne Cinderella Johan Persson Saddlers Wells

Matthew Bourne’s reworking of Cinderella does not involve a prince, a fairy godmother or a castle. Instead, there’s a wounded RAF pilot who stumbles into the home of the downtrodden scullery maid and her motley crew of a stepfamily. A silver-suited angel (danced mesmerisingly by Liam Mower) takes the place of the normally matronly mentor, and the sumptuous Café de Paris is the location in which the transformed Cinders and her ‘prince’ are reunited.

Matthew Bourne Cinderella Johan Persson Saddlers Wells

Ashley Shaw is a beautiful Cinderella. Quite apart from her faultlessly dream-like dancing, she’s an expressive storyteller – important when dialogue is absent. It’s a strong ensemble too, with Bourne’s signature tongue-in-cheek humour ably delivered by Michela Meazza as the wicked stepmother. She’s a pantomime dame-style figure with an edge – a heavy drinker still clinging to her siren years. But it’s the combination of Prokofiev’s outstanding score and the 1940s visuals that really brings this clever reimagining to life. It’s hauntingly beautiful. Don’t miss it.

Until 27 January 2018

We experienced the Supper at Sadler’s package. Two-course dinners on the venue’s mezzanine can be enjoyed with added themed touches, such as Union Jack bunting and ration-book menus. Private areas can also be booked for pre-show drinks.

Eat & drink Bellanger, The Dead Dolls House, Galley

Visit Sadler’s Wells venue page for more information on the theatre hospitality and private hire options

Photos Johan Persson