Bed swan

Swan Lake – review

We introduced Rebecca Smith to the delights of ballet when she watched Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake at the Bristol Hippodrome

As someone who has never been to a ballet performance, I really didn’t know what to expect.

As soon as the curtain lifts and the classical music starts, I quickly realise that this adaptation of the classic ballet is nothing short of a masterpiece. It was abundantly clear that every element of the stage performance is meticulously thought out to provide an awe-inspiring spectacle for the audience.

The story itself is based around a prince, his distant mother and his desire to be free, represented by a swan. It is a tragic and emotionally provocative story, yet manages to be thrilling, audacious and witty throughout, leaving you feeling the right balance of thoughtful and emotionally invested, as well as relaxed and engaged.

The cast were nothing short of exceptional from the poised and serious queen to the witty and refreshing girlfriend. However, by far the stand out performance for me was the lead swan, and in particular, the relationship between him and the prince. 

The lead swan was domineering, dark and mysterious whilst still having an affectionate and soft relationship with the prince. At the same time, the prince was gentle yet captivating with his expressive dancing making it easy to follow the story – something I was worried about as a first-time ballet goer. 

It was not until after the performance that I researched in to the story of Swan Lake, intrigued to uncover why the majority of the cast were male, in particular the swans. It was then that I discovered that this was Bourne’s refreshing take on the classic story where the swans are typically played by females. 

The male on male relationships and dances were by far my favourite part of the performance and for me what set it apart from the highbrow stuffy performance I was expecting.

I can only hope my next venture to the ballet is just as enjoyable as this was.

Tickets are on sale now – the show runs until March 16.

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