Simply Stunning! We Review Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake At Birmingham Hippodrome.
Thrilling, audacious, witty and emotive, this Swan Lake is perhaps still best known for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with a menacing male ensemble, which shattered conventions, turned tradition upside down and took the dance world by storm.
Collecting over thirty international accolades including an Olivier Award in the UK and three Tonys® on Broadway, Matthew Bourne’s powerful interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece is a passionate and contemporary Swan Lake for our times. Our own resident girl in Birmingham Lilith Holsey-Sheppard went along ton the press night performance last night.
I am been privileged to have seen swan Lake from Matthew Bourne previously and can honestly say, it’s my favourite version of an iconic ballet. As the curtain opens, you are taken directly in to the Prince’s bedroom. Huge grey brick wall and vast white pillars line the outside of the room whilst in the middle a bed, tilted up on an angel for us all to see the Prince, James Lovell, thrashing around, having a nightmare. The Queen, Nicole Kabera, enters to offer comfort and the Prince suddenly wakes confused and bewildered by the bad dream he has just had.
A royals work is never done and duty calls with a glamorous display for the people of the land. Photographers capturing their every move the prince looks awkward and lost, very much aware of the queens flirtatious advances to the soldiers. Lost in a world he doesn’t feel he belongs and lead astray by people in his inner circle the Prince drinks himself in to a stupor with a view to end it all. Suddenly a beautiful swan appears and changes everything in the Princes life, for good.
The choreography throughout is beautiful, powerful and moving all at the same time. There are some very clever scenes in we in particularly love the scene in the Swing club as well and the Swan dance where all the male swans move majestically around the stage. Favourites include The Sawn, Will Bozier, who really is fantastic both as a gentle but strong swan and the mysteries stranger that appears at the Royal party. Another favourite is the Girlfriend, Freya Field, who is hilarious particularly during a scene sat in the royal box at the theatre.
The staging is almost minimalist but yet, still very powerful with the use of clever lighting to really add to the drama. The costumes are gorgeous, at one point you can here the swooshing of gowns ruffled underskirts and the dancers glide across the stage. The all male swan ensemble are amazing! Energetic, graceful and yet so strong all at the same time.
This new version of Swan Lake was everything I hoped for and more, mesmerising, moving and a simply incredible performance. Matthew Bourne continues to raise the bar with each version of Swan Lake.
Swan Lake is on at Birmingham Hippodrome till Feb 16th, click HERE to book.