MATTHEW BOURNE'S SWAN LAKE
Theatre Royal until Saturday 15 March 2014
For those theatre goers expecting men in tights, tutus and feather headpieces, think again because Matthew Bourne strips away all misconceptions of what you envisage as "ballet" with the most moving and emotional piece of theatre I have ever seen on any stage. I will admit that "Swan Lake" did bring a tear to my eye and my heart beat much faster with the emotion packed ending that had the whole audience on their feet with the well deserved standing ovation.
This was my first proper ballet and what an introduction. At times it felt like I was the only person there, the action on stage was so hypnotising. The only tights worn were by the women, and for those who thought Matthew Bourne had a male only dance troupe, well you're wrong because about a third of the contemporary dance troupe (as opposed to ballet) are female.
Many say that "Swan Lake" is "homoerotic", well just remove the first part because I feel that erotic is as good a word as any to describe a lot of the action. Tchaikovsky's music is full of light and shade, tender and action packed, which is brought out amazingly by Bourne's work.
What I loved about the piece was the comedy that was infused within the piece and when you think that there is no scripted dialogue, all of the story is portrayed through dance, and what an amazing story, made so easy to follow. The dance and performance is continually updated, and to say that this only started off as a short term project back in 1995, it's still going stronger than ever today.
It's a big cast but the performances of The Prince (Simon Williams) and The Swan/The Stranger (Chris Trenfield) were just amazing. I've never been so emotionally affected by a performance as I was watching this show. The Queen, which is an amazing role for an older ballerina, was played with such joy by Madeline Brennan and the Girlfriend by Anjali Mehra is a great comedy vehicle for any actor.
An amazing set by set and costume designer, Lez Brotherston made the show a wonderful feast for the eyes. Wonderful make up and costumes complete the visuals.
If you've never thought of going to see a ballet, please let this be your initiation because if it can bring a tear to the eye of this big hairy bloke, then I'm sure it will do the same to you. Be prepared to laugh as well as become emotionally involved with the whole show, but especially the finale.