Roberta on the Arts
Matthew Bourne / New Adventures Presents "The Red Shoes" at NY City Center
Contact Roberta
Jazz and Cabaret Corner
On Location with Roberta
In the Galleries: Artists and Photographers
Backstage with the Playwrights and Filmmakers
Classical and Cultural Connections
New CDs
Arts and Education
Onstage with the Dancers
Offstage with the Dancers
Upcoming Events
Special Events
Culture from Chicago
Our Sponsors

Matthew Bourne / New Adventures Presents "The Red Shoes" at NY City Center

- Onstage with the Dancers

On Stage Dancewear
197 Madison Ave (bet 34 & 35 St)
New York, NY. 10016
1 (212) 725 1174
1 (866) 725 1174

The Finest in Modern Dancewear,
Character Shoes, Ballet Slippers, and Gym Outfits
Ask for Ronnie!

Click HERE for a
15% Discount Coupon
Off Already Discounted
On Stage Dancewear!

Matthew Bourne / New Adventures
Production of
The Red Shoes

Based on the film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
And Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale
Music by Bernard Herrmann

Associate Director and Choreographer: Etta Murfitt
Projection Design: Duncan McLean
Sound Design: Paul Groothuis
Lighting Design: Paule Constable
Set and Costume Design: Lez Brotherston
Directed and Choreographed by Matthew Bourne

Sam Archer as Boris Lermontov
Sara Mearns as Victoria Page
Marcelo Gomes as Julian Craster
Michela Meazza as Irina Boronskaja
Liam Mower as Ivan Boleslawsky
Glenn Graham as Grischa Ljubov

And an ensemble of company dancers
As characters, music hall performers, Lady Neston’s guests.

In Performances at New York City Center
Press: Joe Guttridge, Director of Communications

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 29, 2017 Matinee

On a relentlessly rainy and blustery afternoon, a crowd gathered at New York City Center for a special event. One of New York’s favorite principal ballerinas, Sara Mearns, was cast as Victoria Page in the infamous ballet story, The Red Shoes. Matthew Bourne / New Adventures has been very favorably reviewed on these pages for his productions of Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, as well as his choreography of Disney’s Mary Poppins. Today’s ballet was based on the 1948 film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. Production music is by Bernard Herrmann from his film scores, mainly Citizen Kane, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and Fahrenheit 451, orchestrated by Terry Davies. Another New York favorite ballet star, Marcelo Gomes, a principal with American Ballet Theatre, is also cast, as Julian Craster, the dramatic composer-conductor, and Sam Archer is cast as Boris Lermontov, the wild impresario, reinventing Diaghilev. Before even discussing this production, it should be noted that the paired casting of Ms. Mearns and Mr. Gomes was brilliant, as they are physically, psychically, and stylistically matched to perfection. It was pure joy watching this new duo, and worth sitting with a drenched raincoat and sweater.

I could have seen this production of Bourne’s The Red Shoes three times over three days, but did not have that luxury. Beyond the superb, gripping ballet performances of the lead and ensemble casts, and the eerie, to the point, recorded film scores, Lez Brotherston’s sets and costumes, Duncan McLean’s projections, Paule Constable’s lighting, Paul Groothuis’ sound, and Mr. Bourne’s entertaining choreography are each worth the experience alone, with everything else the icing and décor. Most prominently, proscenium stages frame the iconic ballet within a ballet. Victoria Page (Ms. Mearns) is hired to replace Irina Boronskaja (Michela Meazza), who has hurt her ankle, in a ballet, with black and white lighting effects, only highlighting Vicky’s brilliantly red ballet shoes, which, once worn, cannot prevent the dancer from dancing. Vicky has fallen in love with Julian Craster (Mr. Gomes), the composer and conductor, and the impresario, Boris Lermontov (Mr. Archer), is insanely jealous and protective of Vicky’s stage career, which can never include romantic relationships. The shoemaker, Grischa Ljubov (Glenn Graham), is constantly taunting and tempting Vicky to follow her love of ballet and put on the death-inducing shoes. Conflicts abound, and the Hermann score expands on their pathos. Liam Mower, as Ivan Boleslawsky (Irina’s dance partner) and Daisy May Kemp, as Lady Neston (Vicky’s wealthy aunt, who throws a lavish party for Vicky to audition for Lermontov), fill out the lead cast.

Extremely enthralling are the iconic, late 1940’s costumed and period-designed dance scenes in London (like Lady Neston’s soirée), Monte Carlo (like the ballon de plage, a gorgeous dance at the coast), the actual ballet within the ballet (mentioned above, with monochromatic, projected motifs), Villefranche-Sur-Mer (another transporting location), and tremendously entertaining additional scenes in London and Monte Carlo. Ms. Meazza and Mr. Mower, as Irina and Ivan, are hilarious, as, prior to her injury, Irina rehearses with her costume held up, on a hanger, looking filled with ennui, and Ivan, partnering her, takes drags on his cigarette, throughout. This scene was evocative of so many 1940’s comedic films, and the audience loved every minute. Mr. Graham, as Ljubov, the shoemaker, was droll and devious, sinister and self-serving. He evoked The Sleeping Beauty’s evil Fairy Carabosse. Mr. Archer, as Lermontov, seemed somewhat understated, as Diaghilev was larger than life, as Russian as vodka.

But, Mr. Gomes, as Julian, exuded sensual desire, romantic longing, career fulfillment, and a passion for his piano, with only the ballet dramatization that Mr. Gomes is so famous for. He is truly a master artist with talent in every sense of the word (he also choreographs). Ms. Mearns, as Victoria, is also a master artist, who has appeared in numerous galas and shows and one-act abstract, as well as three-act story ballets. Together, they brought down the house. With absolutely no spoken or projected dialogue in this production, Ms. Mearns and Mr. Gomes, together, told the story to the audience. Their incomparable dramatizations were priceless. When Lermontov observes their expressive embrace, Victoria’s tragic fate is sealed. Once again, the moving, smaller proscenium, used not only to frame a film, but also to show backstage / onstage action and casual rendezvous, the use of additional projected screens to make dancers appear and disappear in the ballet within the ballet, the incredible, retro scenic sets, and even Lermontov’s prized statue of two gold-slippered dancing feet, beneath his chandelier, are all details and designs that expand and enhance this remarkable production. When Matthew Bourne / New Adventures comes to your town, do not miss them. Kudos to all.

Sara Mearns and Company in the
Matthew Bourne / New Adventures Production of
"The Red Shoes"
Courtesy of Daniel Coston

Sara Mearns and Company in the
Matthew Bourne / New Adventures Production of
"The Red Shoes"
Courtesy of Daniel Coston

Marcelo Gomes in the
Matthew Bourne / New Adventures Production of
"The Red Shoes"
Courtesy of Daniel Coston

Sara Mearns and Marcelo Gomes in the
Matthew Bourne / New Adventures Production of
"The Red Shoes"
Courtesy of Daniel Coston

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at