The Red Shoes, Mayflower Theatre

The Red Shoes is a story of dance, passion, obsession and redemption.

And as this is a Matthew Bourne production, it also comes with a large injection of comedy, superlative choreography, sensational settings, beach balls and Egyptian sand dancers.

And this week’s opening night audience at The Mayflower adored it.

But then what else to expect from Britain’s, if not the world’s, greatest living choreographer.

The Red Shoes has been popular with dance purists since the simple tale of rising ballet star meets composer, falls in love, but their doomed romance ends in tragedy when she chooses domestic bliss over art, was turned into a hit movie in 1948. But the deep and often dark themes have not translated easily for modern audiences; until now.

Using music from Bernard Herrmann’s original film score (supplemented with themes from some of his other movies, including a particular favourite of mine: The Ghost and Mrs Muir), Bourne’s New Adventures production house bring The Red Shoes bang up to date.

From the sensational opening scenes set in London’s elegant homes and the ballet stage of Covent Garden, through to the soul-wrenching The Ballet of the Red Shoes itself, the first act is mesmerising. The Ballon de Plage scene set on the beach at Monte Carlo complete with bathing belles and strapping chaps in swim suits is comically inspired.

The second act brings a sensational End of Season Party with glorious drunken revels setting the scene for surely one of the most humorous episodes in ballet to date, complete with sand-dancing mini-skirted pharoahs, awkward muscle acrobats and huge-feathered tiller girls.

Ashley Shaw is sensational in the role of lead ballerina Victoria Page, supported by a stunning company including, on opening night, Sam Archer as maestro Boris Lermontov and Chris Trenfield as composer Julian Craster.

The Red Shoes caused audiences to catch their breath when it opened in London’s West End and has lost none of its ability to set the soul soaring in this touring production which runs at the Mayflower until Saturday (March 25). There are few tickets left, so hurry.