Matthew Bourne‘s Swan Lake is a different take on the classical ballet. I was very happy when I was able to get a seat to see this. The difference between this and the classic is that men portray the swans.
A young Prince (Simon Williams) has led an ordered life but his mother The Queen (Saranne Curtin) cannot show her love, this is the cause of angst for him. He becomes entranced in his dreams, where the swans appear which enable him to feel some relief from his life.
The torture of the Prince was visible. Even more so when the lead swan (Chris Trentfield) in his dream, seems to be the son of a very important man in reality. The Prince tries to talk to him but is rebuked. Furthermore, the man fancies his mum!
Sending our prince further into despair and imagining the whole place is laughing at him. He begins to descend more and more into his swan-filled world, which ends up in tragedy.
This is one of the best stage shows I’ve seen. The dancers were outstanding. The sets were very clever, in where a bed became a ship; the skills of the dancers to move with the set; and it seem part of the dance I thought was clever. I loved the Swank Bar and the melee that ensued; was both funny and sad.
There’s a princess in pink played by Carrie Johnson who adds some comic touches as she tries to win over the Prince.
The scene when the Prince gets out of bed, attended too by a fleet of maids and valets; was booth amusing and nothing short of a stroke of genius. There was even a toy Corgi dog being wheeled round where it ‘bit’ the Princess. It was hilarious!
The costumes were gorgeous. The palace ball was for me was the highlight. It was marvellously done, with rich touches of furfuran and gold. The mini theatre show in one of the acts was good.
According to the program I bought, there have been a few things that have changed that only the most loyal fans would spot. However, for a first time viewer, it seemed tailored to me and I found no problem following along.
This stage show has been around since 1995 and it’s been worth the wait and the disappointments of not getting a seat. Now all I have to do is see the original Swan Lake.
Please note the dancers do change roles, so I’m listing the ones I saw dancing. (I wasn’t too sure about the Queen though, lots of heavy makeup! So apologies if it’s wrong! The other actress listed was Madelaine Brennan.)
There isn’t a single compliant I have about this production. A splendid outing with lovely music and an outstanding cast. 10/10 from me. Encore!
Image reproduced from The Lowry.
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