Perfectly timed for Valentine’s week, Matthew Bourne’s groundbreaking production of the ballet Cinderella is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 17th February.

This is a beautiful and atmospheric love story which re-imagines the Cinderella story as taking place in London during the blitz. It debuted 20 years ago in the West End and is currently touring around the UK.

The romantic story fits very comfortably in the wartime context as it follows Cinderella who is caring for her disabled father surrounded by her self-obsessed step family when she meets an injured young RAF pilot and they are together just long enough to fall in love before being parted by the horror of a bombing raid. Many of the details of the show are inspired by actual events, such as the horrific carnage at the Cafe De Paris dancehall during the blitz which claimed 34 lives.

As you’d expect from Matthew Bourne, the story is told through breathtaking dance surrounded by vivid visual effects from realistic rainfall and clouds of smoke to explosions and moving scenery which really does immerse you in the atmosphere.  

There were standout performances from Cordelia Braithwaite as Cinderella who really brought the story to life from her dreams of freedom to falling in love with Harry, the pilot. Harry is played by Will Bozier who has great chemistry with his love interest on stage and his performance seems effortless. 

 Special mention should also go to Madelaine Brennan as Sybil, the stepmother who is believably evil and Paris Fitzpatrick as the guardian angel who is dressed in white and beautifully works his magic as he glides around the stage.

With Lez Brotherston’s sumptuous costumes and sets, which won an Olivier Award for his original designs, and lighting by Olivier Award-winning Neil Austin, this is a visually sumptuous production. It’s a shame that there is no live music for this show, however the surround sound recording allows for a 60 piece orchestra to provide Prokofiev’s soundtrack.

This is a moving and beautiful ballet which will be the perfect way to spend a romantic valentine’s evening and a great, accessible introduction to ballet, although with two intervals you should expect to be at the theatre until about 10pm.

Cinderella is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 17th February 2018.