Swan Lake

Image from The Guardian

As you know, on Tuesday I went home for the night to spend some time with my Mum and to go with her to the ballet. She had bought us tickets to see Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, which is best known for having all male swans. Having seen and been beyond impressed with Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands last year I was more than just a little excited about our trip!

On Wednesday afternoon we went on an outing to the Katherine House charity furniture shed – a barn-like building out by the tip in which fabulous retro and antique furniture mingles with china, pottery, clocks, and other knick knacks, waiting to be rescued from the cold. I saw some fabulous furniture – wonderful sixties chairs, gorgeous wood dining suites and a lovely ottoman I’d have liked to pad and use as storage for my bedding if I had a slightly bigger flat… all at bargain basement prices. I came away with a small ironing board that folds away to practically nothing – the first I’ve seen that wouldn’t take up precious room in my flat – for £4. I’ll be making a new cover for it as a project sometime soon (now kicking myself for having passed up on the off-cuts in Cath Kidston last weekend!) so look out for that…

The ballet was at the Regents Theatre in Stoke on Trent, which looked very different to the last time I was there for The Rocky Horror! The principal dancer, playing the Swan/Black Swan/Stranger was Richard Winsor, and the Prince was danced by Sam Archer. Now, the Prince was excellent, don’t get me wrong, but the Swan – he quite simply blew me away. I could watch him dance for HOURS and if I could buy a DVD just of him dancing I would (in fact, does anyone know if I can??) He was spectacular (and damned hot in his bad boy Stranger scenes!) – captivating and enchanting.

I couldn’t find a YouTube featuring Richard Winsor,
but Adam Copper is pretty good too! 😀

The whole performance was very good, but the second half was, for me, much more involving and more of a spectacle to watch. The party scene featured the Queen in a dress I fell for hook line and sinker, and used tango-steps to great effect. The use of shadows throughout the second half was entrancing – I often found myself watching the shadows rather than the dancers. And the finale… I’d like to say a tear escaped, but that would be a lie, as I actually cried bucketloads and was embarrassingly tear-stained when the lights came up at the end. Between the music, the dancing, and the love story at the ballet’s heart I was an emotional wreck!

Highly recommended, five stars. 😀

P.S. If you need someone’s opinion other than mine, check out this review from The Guardian’s Judith Mackrell:

Richard Winsor, however, has hardly been bettered as the Swan. His pale lunar beauty is ideal for the role, but so too is the muscular heft of his long, strong arms. In Winsor’s performance, the poetic logic of Bourne’s choreography is vividly revealed, the action of the arms not only dipping and rippling like the wings of a bird, but actually powering the dancing.

As the dark Stranger, Winsor is also good. The quality of corrosive narcissism that he brought to his role in Dorian Gray works to even more corrupting effect here. Lethally manipulative and self-aware, Winsor’s character effortlessly disables the moral compass of everyone around him. Even if this season’s casting lacks the shiver of tragedy, it carries a chill frisson of evil.

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