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First night: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake

A brilliant updated production of Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake at the Wycombe Swan that you absolutely need to see. Read my review, and go.

Last night at the Wycombe Swan was the  second time I’ve seen Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake and it was every bit as special – perhaps more so, as the choreography has been updated and there was the hugely charismatic, sexy and menacing Swan/The Stranger in Max Westwell (read my interview with him here).

I absolutely love the ballet, and regularly review performance on Muddy, but whenever a Matthew Bourne ballet pops up, I get that little bit more excited.

Though Bourne’s company New Adventures has grown immeasurably since his Swan Lake prémiered in 1995, Bourne himself is still majorly involved in the rehearsal process and cleary cares about Swan Lake‘s legacy. A Sir nowadays, Bourne’s iconic modern ballet, using an all male corps de ballet, was initialy labelled as the ‘gay Swan Lake’ and saw walkouts from several high profile reviewers. Its impact at the time on a nation used to elegantly quivering, tutu-ed female ‘swans’ can’t be underestimated, but even now watching this new touring production, there’s still an incredible energy and emotive punch that comes from this all male swan ensemble.

The wonderful thing about Matthew Bourne’s production is that it is clever enough for purists but accessible for all. Having watched my share of classical ballets – some brilliant, some predictable – I can honestly say Bourne’s ballet, with its gay not-so-subtext and sense of beautiful menace, was exhilarating. New Adventures describes itself as a ‘dance-theatre company, famous for telling stories with a unique theatrical twist’ and that’s absolutely right – I loved the hissing from the swans, the shouted ‘HEY’ from the dancers, the rhythmic clapping during the super-sexy scene with the Stranger in his tight leather trousers (trust me, it’s quite the look).

What I’m saying is, go see this. Even if you’re not into ballet, go. Step out of your comfort zone and into this strange, beautiful world. You’re going to love it.

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1 comment on “First night: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake”

  • Sue Jepson October 11, 2018

    Agree with everything you said. Blown away by the energy and modern take on the story. Go see!


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