Sir Matthew Bourne unveils new ballet set in 1930s Soho

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Matthew BourneImage source, PA
Image caption,
Sir Matthew Bourne is one of Britain's most popular ballet choreographers

Award-winning choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne has unveiled his latest project: a tableau of life in 1930s London about the denizens of a Soho pub.

Inspired by the works of playwright Patrick Hamilton, The Midnight Bell will open in Cheltenham in September.

It is Sir Matthew's first new work with his New Adventures company since his 2019 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.

Its cast includes Liam Mower, who began his career sharing the title role in the original Billy Elliot production.

The Midnight Bell will go on a two-month UK tour following its opening in Cheltenham in September, that will take it to Sadler's Wells in London in early October.

Other destinations include Sheffield, Liverpool, Truro, Brighton, York and Inverness.

Bourne said he was fascinated by the "pathos, comedy and thwarted romance" of Hamilton's work.

Hamilton, he said, "wrote about the lives of everyday people" in such works as Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky and Hangover Square.

"More than any other author of the time, Hamilton's characters speak with the authentic voice of the era," he continued.

Image source, New Adventures
Image caption,
Promotional image for The Midnight Hour

Hamilton, whose excessive drinking led to his death at 58 in 1962, is best known for his plays Rope and Gas Light.

The latter's title inspired the term gaslighting, a tactic related to coercive and controlling behaviour.

Terry Davies will compose the production's music, while Lez Brotherston will design its set and costumes.

Sir Matthew is best known for his contemporary takes on such classic ballets as Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella and for using a male ensemble in Swan Lake.

The 61-year-old is the winner of multiple Olivier awards and was knighted in 2016 for services to dance.

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