Swan Lake

If you would like to sponser us please contact us
Swan Lake

Swan Lake

Posted: 17 Mar 2010

Picture by Bill Cooper

Swan Lake, Newcastle Theatre Royal, 16 March 2010

 

Animal magnetism

Exhilarating. Mesmerising. I want to see it again tomorrow.

Not my words, but snippets of conversations overheard from fellow audience members after a barnstorming Swan Lake.

This is the production choreographed by Matthew Bourne which replaces the traditional female swans with male dancers (and which featured as the climax of the film Billy Elliott).

More modern dance theatre than classical ballet, it bristled with humour, menace and sensuality.

The muscular swans, stripped to the waist and glistening with sweat, brought a feral quality and raw energy to the swan scenes, contrasting starkly with the formal, stilted life at the palace.

Combining subtle movements – a tilt of the head here, a flick of the neck there – with extravagant leaps and swoops they captured the elegance and strength of the animals and the wild world to which the prince longed to escape.

Sam Archer was appealing in his vulnerability as the Prince, struggling to conform within the prison-like confines of his royal life but coming alive outside the palace walls.

But, inevitably, audience attention focused on Jonathan Ollivier in his dual roles as both the Swan and the Stranger. Admittedly, these are the glamour parts of the piece, but it takes charisma to carry them off successfully – and he’s got it by the bucketload.

As the Swan he exuded passion and vigour tempered with gentleness and subtlety and as the Stranger he was compelling, mixing macho swagger with technical brilliance as he charmed every character in the palace. Talk about animal magnetism.

The whole cast shone both as an ensemble and as individuals (Maddy Brennan as the Girlfriend brought some lovely light touches) against a strong, simple bold set swinging from the prince’s outsize bed, the palace, the street (featuring a giant Swan Vestas poster), a seedy Sixties-style night club, the city park and back again.

This production, with some tweaks here and there, has been hugely successful in the UK and America, winning multiple awards down its 15-year history. The contemporary mood combined with innovative choreography and Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score puts a mark in the sand. The piece sets the standard as the most electrifying Swan Lake you’re likely to see: I can’t imagine delicate swans in tutus and pointes cutting it for me now.

Exhilarating. Mesmerising. I want to see it again tomorrow.

Anne Graham

 

 

 

 


You May Also Be Interested

Linked Articles:

You May Also Be Interested

ne4me's picks of 2016

ne4me's picks of 2016

Picture: The Lake Poets RESTAURANT There are pizza places aplenty in every city in the country and Sunderland is no different, so to stand out from the crowd you really have to be doing well – and Devito’s is. Right opposite Mowbray Park and the city’s main museum Devito’s has free parking next to it after 5.30pm. You can get Italian dishes other than pizza here but why would you? The pizzas are huge, tasty and not expensive. What more do you need?  RM Peace and Loaf in...

Read More

The Shires

The Shires

Sage Gateshead   5 December Three years ago The Shires played The Sage…in the café. Now they’re headlining Hall One to a rapturous audience having hit the big-time.  The sky’s the limit for the duo from the shires of Hertford and Bedford. With their star rapidly rising who knows how far they’ll travel through the universe. Their second album ‘My Universe’ is the fastest-selling UK Country album ever. Their debut, ‘Brave’ had been the first UK country album...

Read More

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult

An Audience with Jodi Picoult Sage Gateshead 24 November  Jodi Picoult is one of modern fiction’s best-selling authors. Her 23 novels have sold over 40 million copies, with the last eight debuting at Number 1 in the New York Times best-sellers lists. Two days after the UK launch she was at The Sage to promote her new book ‘Small Great Things’. Picoult’s formula is to take a really serious subject and tackle it head-on in a direct, fast–paced style which grabs the r...

Read More

view

Audio Interviews

Reviews

ne4me's picks of 2016

ne4me's picks of 2016...

Picture: The Lake Poets RESTAURANT There are pizza places aplenty in every city in the country and Sunderland is no different, so to ...

Whats on

Philippa Hanna on Marti Pellow tour

Philippa Hanna on Marti Pellow tour...

UK singer/songwriter Philippa Hanna supports Marti Pellow (Wet Wet Wet) on his nine-date tour of the country, with a North East gig at Sage ...