I have a routine when I go to the theatre for a dance performance.
I wear heels, a pretty dress, twist my hair into a bun, and put on dark lipstick. I point my chin up, push my shoulders back, pretend I'm balancing books on my head, and try to stand with the best posture I possibly can, so when I enter the theatre, other theatre-goers might think I'm a dancer, despite the fact that I only got a C in GCSE Dance (I only did it so I didn't have to do proper P.E.) and gave up ballet when I was 6. I don't think I'm very convincing, but it's all good fun.
So on Friday night, I put on my favourite lace dress, black tights, and dark red lipstick and headed off to the Theatre Royal to see Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake with Mama CupandSaucer. I've been dying to see this for years- I am a huge fan of his work, and have previously been to see Highland Fling, Cinderella, and The Car Man, which were all incredible. But this was just something else.
Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake is the dance production featured at the very end of Billy Elliott and is particularly famous for using an all male corps de ballet as the swans, rather than the traditional, delicate female swans. Having seen a more traditional representation of Swan Lake when I was in Russia a few years ago, I thought that using male swans might be a bit odd- but oh, how wrong I was. The physicality of the male dancers mirrored the power, grace, and beauty of swans absolutely perfectly, and I've been left wondering how I'll ever think of swans as delicate little things ever again (and I mean that in a good way).
One of the brilliant thing about Matthew Bourne's productions is that in the programme, there's no synopsis of the story- he's incredibly good at making the story of a production with no dialogue really clear, but still open to individual interpretation, and Swan Lake was no exception to this. In my opinion, this production of Swan Lake is about trying to work out who we are- and how things can go when we aren't able to break free of others' expectations of us. It was incredibly done.
The cast were wonderful, and the lead dancers were all exceptional- Jonathan Olivier as the Stranger/ Swan and Andrew Monaghan as the Prince (and I think he was actually an understudy, so even more impressive) were both incredible, and Kerry Biggin as the Girlfriend was hysterical- which was something I really wasn't expecting!
Overall, I can't recommend this production enough (or any other Matthew Bourne production, for that matter!). You can find the dates for the rest of the tour here, and if it's coming to a theatre anywhere near you, you really should try to go- even if you don't think you're a fan of the theatre, or ballet, or dance productions, I'm very sure that you'd enjoy this. The production is cool, funny, sexy (hate that word, but it's true), dramatic, heartbreaking- just generally brilliant, and you should go.
I wasn't paid to attend the show/ write this review- I just thought it was bloody brilliant, and that you should all go.