My last theatre event of 2009 was actually revisiting one of my favourite productions... Matthew Bourne's production of SWAN LAKE at Sadlers Wells.
The show premiered at the same theatre - amazingly - in 1995 and it has been challenging and thrilling audiences ever since. I am sure there are still pockets of balletomaines aka haters who are appalled at the temerity of Bourne to mess with the history of the sacred text but they don't know Fokine anything (see what I did there?).
When we arrived I was a bit miffed that we would not be seeing Richard Winsor as The Swan/The Stranger as I had seen him in Bourne's THE CAR MAN and DORIAN GRAY but one of the main reasons for seeing the shows again and again is to see the new talent New Adventures finds. This time out we saw Jonathan Olliver as The Swan/The Stranger and he certainly brought a dark and brooding quality to both roles which made his performance as The Swan very interesting and in his final downfall, very affecting.
Dominic North was The Prince and was also very touching in the production's most challenging role. Not as flashy as The Swan or The Stranger but he has to keep the momentum of the show going as he is rarely off-stage and must ultimately be the one whose final moments are the most affecting.Nina Goldman was the icy Queen - unable to love her son but very easy to share out her affection to her footmen and soldiers - and was as good as she has been in the past. Chloe Wilkinson gave the role as The Girl Friend the right amount of toe-curling gaucheness. I had been hoping to see Kerry Biggin play the role as I have enjoyed her previous performances in THE CAR MAN and NUTCRACKER! but she appeared in the company as The Spanish Princess in the Act II ball scene and again stood out in her solo with real charisma.
The company were all up to the Bourne level of excellence and the production again showcased the marvellous design of Lez Brotherston and lighting by Rick Fisher.
The show is playing at Sadlers Wells until January 24th and then the Swans flap away to tour the UK - Woking, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Stoke-On-Trent, Liverpool, Salford, Cardiff, Newcastle and Bradford are all going to be visited so if you have not seen the show yet - what have you been doing for the past 14 years?
This was my third time seeing the show and the show's haunting imagery, stunning choreography and mastery of it's storytelling means that it's a show I know I will be drawn to again and again.