Matthew Bourne’s classic production looks as fresh as ever and a glorious celebration of Tchaikovsky’s wonderful music.
Filled with plenty of drama and intensity, there is no denying that Matthew Bourne’s take on Swan Lake has been revered since it was first staged in 1995 for very good reason. It is by turns beautiful, heart wrenching and utterly captivating in the way in which the dancing, the music and story all blend perfectly together in a way that enchants the audience from start to finish.
As with his other work, Matthew Bourne’s unique style offers a richly dark take on the story in which while embracing themes such as love and passion also captures darker moments such as how obsession can quickly turn to violence. But there are also lovely touches of humour to be found that break up the tension slightly but work well within the story as it unfolds as well as the varying tones to be found in Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music.
Every detail has been carefully thought out, in particular I loved the way in which the dancers transformed themselves with so much accuracy into swans, with every slight change of movement and angle at which they hold their bodies proving effective. Meanwhile, Lez Brotherston’s gorgeous designs reflect the style of the production beautifully and used to enhance certain powerful moments to great effect.
It is a lavish production with plenty going on throughout – as seen in the scene at the opera house with ballet sequence on one side of the stage, while you are watching the reaction of the Queen, the prince and the antics of the wonderfully ditzy girlfriend on the other. There are times such as this when it feels as though there is slightly too much going on that can prove a bit distracting but captures the confident ambition of the production really well.
Swan Lake features powerfully emotional performances from all of the cast, each one capturing the changing emotions as well as highlighting wonderful storytelling skills through their dancing to keep the audience engaged from start to finish effectively. Will Bozier as the Swan/ the stranger delivered a sharp and dynamic performance that was mesmerising to watch. His movement across the stage was consistently confident and powerful.
Elsewhere, Dominic North as the Prince is delicate and graceful throughout, with the contrast between his and Bozier’s performances creating some wonderful moments when they dance together. Nicole Kabera is a suitably regal and distant queen, not only through her mannerisms but also her dancing that is beautifully controlled, while Katrina Lyndon as the girlfriend is charmingly funny as she accidentally causes offence with her antics.
Thrilling and dynamic, this production of Swan Lake stays with you long after the curtain has come down. Stunning choreography and beautiful interpretation of the classic story make this a production well worth catching.
By Emma Clarendon