Review: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, The Mayflower, Southampton

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Ballet is something I really enjoy and it is one of the most beautiful arts to express, so I was feeling somewhat feverish to be amongst the audience in a packed house to see Matthew Bourne’s interpretation of Swan Lake.

Forget any versions of this ballet you have ever seen before, the rule book has been obliterated and rewritten into a modern classic. This is fresh, exciting sometimes humorous and poles apart. There are pirouetting ballerinas and men in white tights, but the latter are striking, bare-chested masculine feathered swans with talented dancer Jonathan Olliver taking the place of Princess Odette.

It’s a sumptuous performance, full of grace and strength yet commanding in quite an animalistic, erotic way which is in contrast to the Prince (Liam Mower), who is haunting and fragile. The female characters, with the exception of the haughty Queen and goofy girlfriend, don’t come across as well.

Tchaikovsky’s score is bold and jaunty yet dreamlike and occasionally nightmarish.

The bed that turned around into a boat was extremely clever and innovative.

At the finale I was up on my feet with tears of joy in my eyes – simply breathtaking. This will change the way you see ballet forever. Until Saturday.