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article imageMatthew Bourne's Swan Lake delights London Special

By Tim Sandle     Dec 23, 2018 in Entertainment
London - Matthew Bourne's revived ballet - Swan Lake - featuring a predominately male cast is playing at Sadler's Wells theatre is a delightful and superbly choreographed production.
For the past few seasons Matthew Bourne and his company New Adventures have staged a new ballet at Sadler's Wells, home of London's most interesting and choreographed dance productions. Bourne's work is often left-of-center (2015's Sleeping Beauty had vampires in it, as way of example; last year's Cinderella was set during World War II).
Bourne's work is often featured at Sadler's Wells, which is a performing arts venue in Clerkenwell, London. The current theatre is the sixth to stand on the site, with the first having opened in 1683.
A Christmas Tree at Sadler s Wells  including a dancer ornament.
A Christmas Tree at Sadler's Wells, including a dancer ornament.
The revival of Swan Lake (first performed in 1995) is not the ballet as most people know it, although there are many elements of the more conventional retelling. Bourne's Swan Lake that draws upon the power of the classic and its key themes, such as the yearning for love and for freedom, and at the same time adds its own spellbinding imagery. Twisting the conventional tale to one representing love between two men - the Prince and the Swan - is the biggest twist on Tchaikovsky's conventional tale. In this version, the traditionally female parts of the swans are danced by men.
Audience preparing to watch the 2018 revival of Swan Lake.
Audience preparing to watch the 2018 revival of Swan Lake.
Central to the production is Matthew Ball, who triumphs in the dual role of the Swan (dangerous and commanding) and the Stranger (ruthless and sexual), providing some delightful balletic moves - fluid and sensuous. His more subtle performance contrasts to those of the other swans, who engage in variations of hissing, snapping, stomping, displaying masculinity and physicality. The Prince too conveys plenty of emotion, played by Dominic North.
The cats like for the 2018 version of Swan lake.
The cats like for the 2018 version of Swan lake.
There are also comedic elements, such as Katrina Lyndon’s clumsy and sometimes vulgar Girlfriend of the Prince. However, being Sawn Lake, humour is often offset by heartbreak and the cruelty of the world. This cruelty is perhaps best represented by the Prince's mother - The Queen, portrayed by Nicole Kabera, and by splatterings of evil magic.
Theater poster for the 2018 revival of Swan Lake.
Theater poster for the 2018 revival of Swan Lake.
The stage design varies, creating different mood pieces. Sometimes red and gilt finery; othertimes cold, represented by monolithic columns. The water effect is very well done, creating a sense of calm and, at other times, forboding. The set was designed by Lez Brotherston.
The bar at Sadler s Wells  with champagne being served.
The bar at Sadler's Wells, with champagne being served.
It's an exhilarating experience and this review rates the production 5 out of 5. Swan Lake plays at Sadler’s Wells from 4 December 2018 to 27 January 2019.
Ticket stubs for Swan Lake.
Ticket stubs for Swan Lake.
More about Ballet, Matthew Bourne, Swan lake
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