The Show

Act Three

Scene I – The Streets of London

A loud thunderclap sounds as we see an excerpt from a black and white film portraying the devastation of the German offensive, and the plight of those living in London at the time of the Blitz.

The Act opens on the rainy streets of London, as men and women go about their business with an increased sense of fear. The Angel walks amongst them, unseen, and we realise that he is acting as a harbinger of death, signaling if, and when, peoples’ time is up. The Pilot appears clutching Cinderella’s shoe; the only precious memory he has of her. With his bloody bandages covering his head injury, and his strange and disorientated demeanor, passers-by are wary of him. In a trance-like state he begins a mournful solo whilst clutching her shoe. Crowds watch on, alarmed at this strange man.


Scene II – The London Underground

Harry staggers off and as the lights fade, we hear the sound of a train. He reappears within the belly of the London Underground. Here he encounters a darker, more deviant side to the capital city, to which he seems unaccustomed. Prostitutes, rent boys and their customers appear around him. A duet ensues between the prostitute and the pilot where we see that her tenacity has paid off. Before they are through she robs him of his money, which goes unnoticed by Harry. 


Scene III – The Thames Embankment

Appalled at his own indiscretion Harry runs out of the station. As the lights come up we now see the recognisable silhouette of a street lamp at the edge of the Thames. Sickened by what he has done Harry staggers to the edge of the river and throws up. As Harry once again begins dancing with Cinderella’s shoe, he is being watched by two men smoking cigarettes in the darkness, and people at a coffee stand.

A woman dressed in fine clothes, who has been observing his obvious despair, takes pity on him as he collapses to the floor. Her companions enter, furious with her for helping Harry. An argument breaks out and one of the men pushes the woman. 

Harry promptly punches them both before the two thugs get involved in the fracas. Stealing the shoe from the Pilot, they taunt him with it before holding him down to allow the man who was punched to get his own back. They join in afterwards and Harry is left alone, crumpled on the floor clutching Cinderella’s shoe.


Scene IV – A Convalescence Home

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella 2010 revival

As the lights come up we see a large illuminated red cross hanging overhead, signifying that we are now at a hospital. Individual hospital screens form a ‘corridor’, through which appears Cinderella in a wheelchair pushed by the Angel, disguised in a white doctor’s coat and glasses.

It is clear that whilst Cinderella may have recovered from her physical injuries, she is still suffering mentally. Dancing a disjointed and unsettling solo during which she wears her one remaining slipper, we see Cinderella is evidently still traumatised, and is reminiscing about the happy times she spent with Harry. 

Cordelia Braithwaite as Cinderella in A Convalescence Home

Led by Sybil, Cinderella’s stepfamily arrives for a visit. Feigning concern, they sneak into Cinderella’s ward. Cinderella is alarmed to see them, and calls out for help. The nurse instructs the family to leave, before they are escorted from the hospital.

Concerned that once Cinderella is well again she may tell people what Sybil did to her father, the stepmother sneaks back in by herself. Entering her room, Sybil finds Cinderella alone and fast asleep. Quietly placing a pillow over her head, she attempts to suffocate her. The psychiatrist (Angel) hears her stifled screams and reappears just in time to save Cinderella’s life. Rushing in behind him, the rest of the family are shocked to learn what their tyrant mother has done.

The hospital screens close around Cinderella, the psychiatrist (Angel) and Sybil once more, as we see Harry, briefcase in hand, being helped along by a nurse. As the screens open, we witness her being led away by the authorities, and the family make clear they will have nothing more to do with her. 

We see that the reason for Harry’s visit to the hospital is that he is being given electroconvulsive therapy. From her room, Cinderella hears someone screaming and searches the hospital to find out what is happening. As she reaches the source of the noise, she finds Harry alone, recovering from his treatment.

Shocked, surprised and delighted to see one another, we see that there is an awkwardness between them, as they realise they are actually little more than strangers. However, as they reunite the two shoes from Cinderella’s original pair we see they have renewed hope in the possibility of a happy future; before departing the stage together. 


Scene IV – Paddington Station

The lights come up to reveal a busy train station platform. Couples, friends and families are either bidding farewell to loved ones, whilst returning servicemen and women are being welcomed home. With suitcases in hand Harry and Cinderella are being waved off by their family, and we realise that having just got married, they are leaving for their honeymoon. They seem to have a warmer more familial relationship between one another now.

Cinderella says her farewells, though her father, Robert, appears removed and unyielding. Despite Cinderella’s best efforts he sits unmoving in his wheelchair, staring into the distance. Just as Cinderella and Harry make to leave, Robert calls out to her. 

She runs back to him and he hugs his daughter, before saluting his new son-in-law. As the comings and goings of the activity at the station freezes, the Angel makes a final appearance to Cinderella. She shows her gratitude to him, and he dances around them, bestowing his blessing on them for their future lives together.

As Cinderella and Harry board the train, the Angel spots a girl alone at the station café, reading her book. As he rests a hand gently on her shoulder she looks up from her book, as if sensing something. We realise that the Angel may now be taking this young woman’s fate into his hands, as he did with Cinderella before. 


The Victory Dance & Curtain Call

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella – The Company

The music reprises and we see all the characters return to stage in a VE Day victory celebration. The last to reappear are Cinderella, who is once more in her ball-gown, and Harry. Ticker tape falls from the ceiling as the festivities continue, and as each of the cast members takes their curtain call. The lights fade as the characters continue to dance the night away. 

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