In 1996 Matthew Bourne unveiled his bold reinvention of Swan Lake to the West End and took the world of classical ballet by storm. 23 years later the production is heading out on a brand new UK tour and dazzling fans across the country once again.
When the show initially opened it made history by replacing the traditional tutu wearing female corps de ballet with a team of bare-chested and menacing young men in feathered breeches. The idea of having our Prince dance with another male was initially seen as revolutionary and sent shock-waves all over the industry. Now we know what to expect from this production, can it still be considered ground-breaking and revolutionary?
The 1996 production may have been initially slated by a number of critics and audience members, but the negativity certainly hasn’t clipped its wings. Bourne discusses how in 1996 a number of male audience members walked out of the auditorium when The Swan and Prince began to dance together and how a number of “young girls with buns” were in tears as Mummy had brought them to the “wrong” Swan Lake. Obviously over the past 23 years attitudes have changed drastically, but this production comes at a time when social media is buzzing with the news that the BBC may begin to welcome same sex couples to Strictly Come Dancing. On social media this news has been met with a mixture of responses which is incredibly interesting considering Bourne’s production has become a firm favourite in the world of classical dance.
This was my first trip to see the Swans and as previously mention, we of course know what to expect from a trip to see this production. However what I didn’t expect was to be rendered speechless by the beauty of this remarkable production.
This production may be 23 years old but it certainly doesn’t show it’s age. Bourne and Lex Brotherston (the show’s original designer) have worked to re-invent their Swan Lake with brand new designs, lighting designs and slightly revised choreography. In the programme Bourne describes how the revised choreography will make this revival “closer … to a new production” but despite this, it still manages to retain the elegancy and beauty which fans initially fell in love with.
Whilst the whole production is astounding, for me the stand out moment was the initial dance between our lovable but emotionally damaged Prince (Dominic North) and the wild and menacing lead swan (Will Bozier). The intensity and passion of the scene inflicted a noticeable shift in the atmosphere of the auditorium as the audience seemed to take a collective breath in wonder and amazement.
This was by far the fastest standing ovation I’ve ever seen and it’s not hard to see why. Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is a timeless classic and is an experience like no other. Make sure you don’t miss out on your chance to see this masterpiece in its full glory.
For more information or to book tickets to see Swan Lake head to the official New Adventures website.
Review Date: 12/03/2019
Cast at the Performance I Attended: Will Bozier, Dominic North, Nicole Kabera, Katrina Lyndon, Glenn Graham, Nicole Alphonce, Magan Cameron, Kayla Collymore, Zanna Cornelis, Freya Field, Bryony Harrison, Carrie Willis, Andrew Ashton, Johnathon Luke Baker, Benjamin Bazeley, Alistair Beattie, Callum Bowman, Isaac Peter Bowry, Tom Broderick, Cameron Everitt, Keenan Fletcher, Nicholas Keegan, James Lovell, Ashely-Jordan Packer, Stan West and Milwhynne Williams.
Images courtesy of Google Images.