Swan Lake Nov 1996
Directed by Matthew Bourne and with new orchestrations by Rowland Lee it is a very diverse and an unusual spectacle. Any traditionalist in the Capital not reading up on the show before hand will be in for a surprise. It is performed with all male swans and what a great idea it was to do it this way. This does of course attract a high proportion of Gay people to the theatre, but it is a show that can be enjoyed by all . There are some marvelously great scenes and I love the expressions on the actors faces when they look at the audience.
I cannot really judge artistically on whether the dancers performed very well because as I said my experience of Ballet is basically nil. However their dancing and timing looked good and powerful to me. The cast including William Kemp as the Swan and Ben Wright as the Prince, performed with a lot of energy and confidence. I also particularly liked the expressions of both Isabel Mortimer, The Queen, and Emily Piercy who played the Prince's common girlfriend.
It is a riveting, stimulating spectacular show with funny, tender and breathtaking moments. An intelligent show full of quality and a must see for any open minded people.
I am absolutely delighted that Matthew Bourne's new interpretation of Tchaikovskys most famous score has finally arrived in the West End, and not a moment too soon! The 34 strong cast are exemplary and gel in complete harmony with the 27 piece orchestra and Rowland Lees fabulous new orchestrations, ably conducted by David Frame. The atmosphere in the theatre was absolutely electric, we were all mesmerised.
The most notable difference between this and traditional versions of the piece is the swans. Gone are the beautiful ballerinas in Tutus, this 90's version has young male swans with attitude. They are all excellent dancers and give the story a powerful and dramatic new angle. Purists should shelve their inhibitions and see for themselves, I think they will be pleasantly surprised.
William Kemp as The Swan is sensational. He is good looking in a roguish way, the James Dean of ballet. His dancing is full of drama, and he keeps the tension of the plot alive. He knows exactly how to command the attention of the audience, and he does just that. He has an excellent rapport with The Prince, gracefully danced by Scott Ambler.
Fiona Chadwick as the Queen, was both beautifully haughty in public, whilst a complete flirt in private. Emily Piercy gave an enjoyable performance as the Princes Girlfriend, and was a totally convincing dizzy blonde.
Design was by Lez Brotherson. His sets were kept simple, although effective, enabling the production to move smoothly and swiftly, his costumes inventive and stunning. especially the dazzling array of outfits at the Royal Ball. Rick Fisher's lighting complimented the production, and created mood where necessary.
This is a superb production is only running until Christmas, after which it embarks upon a world tour, so I suggest you book early, this is one that is definitely not to be missed. (Jason L Belne)