Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake

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Swan Lake. A performance known of by many, but perhaps fully witnessed by only a few. Yet from the moment Tchaikovsky’s famous melody cuts in, its audience is consumed by the oboe and swept seamlessly into two hours of artistic mastery cleverly choreographed by Matthew Bourne and performed with captivating beauty by an unquestionably exceptional cast.

Transforming the traditional Birmingham Royal Ballet Company’s production from a predominantly female to an almost-fully male dance ensemble, Bourne has not stopped there in turning a well known masterpiece into a compelling performance with gripping twists. His production employs the established themes of love and despair, whilst introducing a modernised element of new-fashioned costume and just the right touch of comedic value – simply turning Swan Lake into a contemporary spectacle, which is sure to be savoured by even the less artistically-appreciative folk among us.

Impressive staging, Lez Brotherston’s stunning set design and an array of beautiful lighting techniques devised by Rick Fisher all contribute towards this wonderful production – a complex and heartbreaking story, told through well-constructed choreography and emotive accompanying music. The New Adventures Dance Company prove themselves not only as talented dancers, but as actors too – something highly commended considering the lack of dialogue. Jonathan Olivier portraying both the iconic Swan and later the Stranger, manages to depict the double-sided character convincingly and with beautiful ease, whilst Sam Archer provides complete emotional commitment to his role as The Prince, despite being on stage from the opening act until the very end. However, the production doesn’t just depend on the performers to affect its audience; the stunning orchestra accompanies throughout, highlighting just the right instruments – namely, the harp and violin – to target audience emotions.

It is extremely clear why this production is currently celebrating its eighteenth birthday and why its popularity is ever-growing. As it continues its run in Plymouth and then heads on to its other UK destinations, I predict an incredibly successful tour and a return to the stage for many consecutive years to come.

The link to the original review is right here: http://theknowledgeplymouth.co.uk/matthew-bournes-swan-lake-comes-to-plymouths-theatre-royal/

J xx

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