Put on your red shoes and dance the blues

SYDNEY FESTIVAL: Cornish company Kneehigh Theatre return to Australia with their acclaimed production THE RED SHOES.

First published in 1845, Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale The Red Shoes is a cautionary tale about vanity and pride, in which a young girl who values her beautiful red shoes over her ailing stepmother finds to her horror that the shoes have come to life and are forcing her to dance, whether she wants to or not.

As she dances across graveyards, over moors and through forests, the red shoes having grafted themselves to her feet, an angel tells her that she is cursed to dance forever, even after she is dead, as a warning to vain girls everywhere. Desperate for rest she successfully begs an executioner to chop off her feet, only to be confronted by the accursed red shoes, her severed feet inside them, still dancing, when she limps on crutches and new wooden feet to church to pray for forgiveness.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts