The Midnight Bell: Sadler's Wells

THE MIDNIGHT BELL by Bourne, , choreographer and director -Sir Matthew Bourne, Design

Paris Fitzpatrick and Bryony Wood in THE MIDNIGHT BELL choreographed and directed by Sir Matthew Bourne. - Credit: Johan Persson

Islington choreographer Matthew Bourne regularly showcases his work at Sadler's Wells,  where he's chosen to premiere his first new production since 2019's Romeo and Juliet.

Inspired by the world of Patrick Hamilton’s novels, The Midnight Bell explores the seedy underbelly of 1930’s London. It's the flip-side of close contemporary, Noel Coward’s witty and glamorous era of cocktails and high society.

Hamilton wrote about characters he observed in an unglamorous London pub called The Midnight Bell. Bourne's regular designer Lez Brotherson brilliantly conjures this atmospheric 1930s Soho of dark foggy streets, smoke-filled pub, dingy boarding house, and lighted windows that hang from the sky.

All the lonely people… an out-of-work actress (Daisy May Kemp}, gay chorus boy (Liam Mower) waiter (sinuous Paris Fitzpatrick), and prostitute (forlorn Bryony Wood) gather (or work at) the Bell. They are there for human contact, to escape from sad and disappointing lives.

THE MIDNIGHT BELL by Bourne, , choreographer and director -Sir Matthew Bourne, Design

Matthew Bourne's THE MIDNIGHT BELL. Bryony Wood and Paris Fitzpatrick. - Credit: Johan Persson

The stars of the show are hugely powerful Richard Winsor, playing the schizophrenic killer George Harvey Bone, and Michela Meazza as the lonely spinster Miss Roach. But all of the cast dance beautifully.

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Terry Davies provides a terrific bluesy score and Tom Groothuis’s sound design captures the cacophony of London - from traffic to birdsong and also includes period songs such as Cole Porter’s What is This Thing Called Love? to which the dancers mime.

4/5 stars.

The Midnight Bell is now on tour until November 27.

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