Having never been to the Ballet, I warned my mother that if I fell asleep, she needed to wake me up. She didn’t need to bother.
The most striking aspect of this production for me was the setting – the London Blitz in 1940. Lez Brotherston’s set is truly a thing of magic and splendour, setting the scene from the beginning with the projection of Pathe New Reel- “What to do in an Air Raid” to an ending scene set at Paddington Station which could be right out of David Leans “Brief Encounter”
The sets ranging from the rubble of war torn London through to the smashed desolation of London’s iconic Café de Paris are breath-taking. This is not just a backdrop for a ballet, but a dedication of love to the Blitzed London and those brave Londoner’s who survived a nightly onslaught of doodlebugs and devastation.
The cast alternate roles each evening and Andrew Monaghan made a dashing Pilot Harry. Madeleine Brennan was wonderfully cast as the evil, drunken Step-Mother and she reminded me very much of famous 50s Film star “Margaret Lockwood” in the “Wicked Lady”.
Instead of a fairy godmother this time there is an Angel and Liam Mowers performance is a delightful combination of classical ballet with steps and jumps thrown in that would equal any seen in a Fred Astaire movie.
But it is Ashley Shaw in the title role who captures our heart and soul, from her first steps in her sparkly shoes and dull grey dress until her transformation into an Evita-esque figure, as she descends down the staircase of the Café de Paris into the arms of her handsome pilot.
This show is sad at times; humorous at others and will stay with you long after the final curtain has dropped. I loved this show, absolutely loved it.
Reviewed by Neil Mcfarlane