The Red Shoes

Jo Billington and Will Feasey with Tim Norton, music by Ned Bennett
Young Pleasance
Pleasance Courtyard
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It is always exciting to watch the excellent Young Pleasance. Each year, they bring a new young company to the Fringe with a brand new show.

For their 24th year, quite an achievement in itself, they have an outstanding reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Red Shoes.

It’s an absolute delight, performed with enthusiasm, commitment and sheer energy from this large cast. You have to admire their consummate professionalism and all of this achieved in an intensive rehearsal period of ten days.

Skilfully adapted by Jo Billington and Will Feasey with Tim Norton and original music by Ned Bennett, this tale is set in Berlin during the interwar era. It’s filled with the glitz and glamour of a hedonistic society but as the rise of Hitler slowly takes over the city a seedy dark undertone emerges.

We meet two MCs who will be our guide as the story unfolds. But will the red shoes she has inherited from her mother be a gift or a curse?

We follow Lotta, from her days in the orphanage where she meets a young Jewish boy Jacob to the burlesque cabarets, dance halls, and eventually as an actress on the silver screen. Three different actors cleverly play them as they age.

Lotta is introduced to Franz, a member of the Nazi party, and her fortunes take a new twist and turn.

The powerful ensemble work is dazzling with wonderful images created and Rebecca Wilson’s choreography is most impressive, particularly the Charleston.

This is a fast-paced production filled with exuberance and exquisite costumes and is superbly directed with a strong, poignant ending.

Once again, Young Pleasance has a huge hit on their hands and The Red Shoes is an absolute triumph. Go!

Robin Strapp