We were lucky enough to see the show this week in Newcastle, after wanting to see a Matthew Bourne production for years. It was absolutely brilliant! The main cast we saw were:
The Swan/Stranger - Will Bozier The Prince - Dominic North The Queen - Nicole Kabera The Girlfriend - Katrina Lyndon
The whole show was excellent but the two acts with all of the swans were the stand-out. The music, the sets and costumes - everything was great and looked like a first class production. I've seen ballets before but nothing like this, it was definitely one of the best live productions (of any kind) that I've ever seen. The ending was very emotional and a well deserved immediate standing ovation. Will Bozier was so athletic and commanded the stage, Dominic North was equally as good yet so different. Wished I could see it again - then checked by chance and managed to get tickets again for a second performance. I was pleased we had a slightly different lead cast so this time saw:
The Swan/Stranger - Max Westwell
The Girlfriend - Freya Field
A second amazing performance and was able to notice little things I hadn't seen the first time. Audience loved it even more and think the curtain call was longer, with Max in particular enjoying the applause. A very special production indeed.
I was persuaded by my daughter to see this, as I had not really been interested in ballet before - how wrong I was! I was mesmerised throughout. The costumes were all stunning, especially the butterfly dresses (and of course the swans). All of the cast were exceptional, outstanding performances by Max Westwell (the Swan) and Dominic North (the Prince). It's unusual to see the two leads take the first and last bows, I'm glad they did as they gave such incredible performances. I wasn't expecting it to be so funny in parts and then also so emotional. Needless to say I came home and booked to see the next Matthew Bourne production which is Romeo and Juliet, can't wait.
So glad you enjoyed this, Daniel. I first saw it in 1995 - yep that long ago. For this tour and run they have spruced it up a bit.....the Swank club used to be peopled by familiar gay characters from the 60's. And as I remember the young Prince was played by a child, who did some of the Royal Duties. The naked statue seems to have acquired a drape. The Girlfriend now has a glitzy puffball dress that echoes the pink confection she wears earlier. Gone are the two huge hands holds the torches in the palace, and they are replaced by free standing torches. There's a more glitzy window for the swan appearances. Actually the girlfriend now seems a more fully rounded and rather tragic figure. And the trees are more detailed. all together it is still a sophisticated masterpiece. So the swans turn against their leader because....? That old falling in love with a mortal thing?
Me too, as regards seeing it back in the day. I saw it first time round, with Adam Cooper, and I was totally blown away by it. I'm terrified of seeing it again in case it doesn't measure up to my memory. I'm finally seeing it again on Thursday though, eep.
I feel so grumpy. Like the grumpy cantankerous old woman in a sea of cheering standing-ovationy crazed audience. They loved it. I just do not get it though.
What it really felt like to me was as if someone had taken a masterpiece and photocopied it 25 times, getting progressively weaker and fuzzier each time, adding in cheap jokes and losing the heart. Like a black and white Mona Lisa with a comedy moustache and sparkly eyeshadow, which everyone then raves about.
Maybe it's me. I was in my early 20s first time and had never seen anything like it. And it was Adam Cooper who had so much charisma and a flawless technique. This time I'm in my mid 40s and I felt I'd seen all this before, and done much better.
Elanor, and you are right. it was dazzling, and the imagery brilliant, and the energy, but something was missing. and I put it down to the medium sized stage of the Lyceum. They couldn't get all the set on stage, and the compositions didn't work to their full advantage, and the stage looks to have a rake, but even so, I am still left in awe of the production and the sheer stamina it must take to do each night, let alone eight times a week for a year.
Maybe the stage size didn't help, and I had no issues with the commitment of the dancers, but I really just felt disappointed with the production as a whole, compared to what it once was.
I felt, especially with the second half party scene, that they were playing it for too many cheap laughs. And it was so *noisy* - so much huffing and puffing and shouting and THUMPING when they jumped. I didn't get much sense of grace at all from the swans - and yes, I know they need to be properly swan-like and scary and strong, but the main Swan we had was strong but not graceful, in my opinion. Really very thumpy landings on all his jumps, and in the party scene was nothing more than a rude arse.
The only saving grace for me was Liam Mower as the Prince, who was very graceful and really conveyed the emotions. I'd have happily watched a lot more of him and less of the rest.