Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Episode 765: The Red Shoes

Caught Kneehigh Theatre's revival of The Red Shoes with Bella at the Arts Centre. They first produced it 10 years ago, and the revival's part of their thirtieth anniversary celebrations. There were loads of students in the audience because this play is on the curriculum, I think, and this was the performance with a post-show dialogue. Didn't stay till the end of that, but was around long enough to hear all the student-type questions. As for the production itself, it was excellent. The character of Lydia, incidentally, reminded me of The Emcee in Cabaret, which I saw in Singapore a couple of years ago with Fei Xiang starring as that character. You have that same ambivalent sexuality, narrating the events of the play. To me, however, The Red Shoes presents a far more primal tale than Cabaret. What's interesting about Emma Rice's take on Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale is how The Girl is clearly portrayed as having a future beyond the traditionally received narrative's ending where she dies. That ending may be viewed as problematic because of its very strongly moralising tone and connection to the church, not to mention that it's an angel that condemns her to dance in the first place. With Kneehigh Theatre's production, she appears to successfully overcome both the taint that the red shoes represent, as well as the strict religious institution that would have her damned without being given a second chance. The focus in the play is less on dialogue per se than on visuals, which is an interesting way of staging things. I particularly liked how The Girl's costume became progressively redder throughout. All in all, a thought-provoking evening, especially in light of what I'm working on for my PWP.

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