Every Christmas a friend and I go to see a Christmas show, sometimes its a ballet or an opera. It’s definitely more my thing than hers but she kindly humours me and comes along. I have just booked for us to see The Red Shoes, a Matthew Bourne ballet at Sadler’s Wells, based on the classic Hans Christian Anderson story.
I like fairy tales a lot. Partly, I think I’m making up for lost time. There weren’t any children’s books at home when I was growing up. The first things I remember reading are Mills and Boon romances, Agatha Christie, Jean Plaidy and then a bit later DH Lawrence and George Orwell. To explain, I was a late addition to a large family and all the childish things that had been handed down through my siblings had long been disposed of and my parents probably didn’t want to start buying all that stuff again. I was however encouraged to read and simply read whatever my mum and sisters were reading. I must admit I prefer seeing productions (films or theatre) of fairy tales rather than reading them although I enjoy that from time to time also.
I have tried reading more adult versions of fairy tales, for example Angela Carter, but find those too violent for my taste although the feminist twist is most welcome. Instead I think Magical Realism has filled that adult gap for me. I also love old illustrated fairy tale books, especially from early 20th century when colour printing really took off, known as the ‘Golden age of book illustration’.
The picture to the right is by Oskar Klever, the picture below is by Jennie Harbour (both from different versions of The Red Shoes).
I only wish I had some red shoes to wear to the show but who knows where that might end…