Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes @ Milton Keynes Theatre 28.01.20


I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake was at Milton Keynes Theatre.

Sounds like perfect timing for another dose of MB!

Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes has twirled in to Milton Keynes this week.

An intense story of a young aspiring dancer as she becomes torn between the deep love for her craft and the love for a young composer.

It’s based on the 1948 award-winning film of the same name.


Both the film and the Matthew Bourne Ballet are based on the Hans Christian Andersen The Red Shoes but both share a different story, a story around an aspiring dancer, Victoria Page.


It’s a drama but it really touches on being a thriller and even a horror in some parts.

It’s hard to pinpoint it’s genre but it is gripping story. Watching the descent into obsession and blurring the lines between art and reality, life and love are quite intense.

If you don’t think you’re a ballet person, don’t pass by too fast.

MATTHEW BOURNE'S PRODUCTION OF THE RED SHOES. Ashley Shaw 'Victoria Page' & Company. Photo by Johan Persson

Aside from the intense story, the production is lovely.

The set moves and turns to flip your view between professional life and personal life and between backstage and front of stage views, making you actually feel the tug between the two worlds and how isolated they are.


And what of the red shoes? How does a pair of shoes stand up on their own as the crux of the story?

What is so special about those shoes?

For Victoria, it’s the shoes she trained for, probably bled for, definitely cried for.

That magic is found in Cordelia Braithwaite who plays Victoria Page who carries most of that magic on her toes.


But my favourite Red Shoe moment is when they aren’t even moving!

When the shoes are being held and the person holding them looks as if they are holding a baby for the first time. Held out in pure fear and awe and wonder. All the emotions in those shoes are what we are spilling from our souls when we have our own goals, our own things we want to strive to be the best at.

MATTHEW BOURNE'S PRODUCTION OF THE RED SHOES. Cordelia Braithwaite 'Victoria Page' & Company. Photo by Johan Persson (2)

Look at these intense colour splashes used on the stage, they remind me of iconic films – Kubrick’s The Shining or Argento’s Suspira. Both pieces synonymous with that possessive passion found in creativity, smeared out in red for all to see.

But I’m sure you won’t be screaming in horror at Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes in fact I’m pretty sure you’re more likely to share a tear.

Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes is at Milton Keynes Theatre 28 January – 1 February 2020

For full transparency, tickets to the show were kindly gifted to me from Milton Keynes Theatre.


*amended 30.01.2020 incorrectly named Michael Bourne instead of Matthew Bourne. Doh! Sorry.