This Young Pleasance version of The Red Shoes is a reimagining of the Hans Christian Andersen tale, set in interwar Berlin. It follows young Lotta, who inherits a pair of red shoes from her mother, through from the orphanage to the dance halls and on to the silver screen, in a typical rags to riches tale. The time period allows for Lotta’s heritage to be questioned but the hour-long production means everything happens at fairly rapid pace.
The whole production feels alluring and hedonistic, and just a touch seedy. It is more reminiscent of Alice Unhinged, their production from two years ago, showing a darker and more grown up side to the company.
The production has apparently been pulled together in ten days, making it all the more remarkable that such a slick performance has been achieved. But then Young Pleasance has a reputation for delivering excellence in their productions.
The original score feels entirely in keeping with the setting and is very enjoyable to listen to. The staging also comes together nicely, looking far more polished than the traditional Edinburgh Fringe production. It’s a very energetic piece with plenty of big dance numbers, including a stonkingly good Charleston, which perks up the mid-way point.
As always, the large ensemble cast are flawless in their delivery. Special mention should go to the three Lotta’s; Eliana Franks, Katie Walton and Eva Burton who each find a particular nuance of Lotta at each stage of her life. Kishore Walker is particularly compelling as Jacob, and Hannah Margerison and Kieton Saunders-Browne make for excellent MC’s.
Once again Young Pleasance has demonstrated their ability to create Edinburgh Fringe productions of a very high standard. The Red Shoes provides audiences with a darker side of the company, but it’s absolutely bursting with energy and enthusiasm.