Thursday, 7 November 2013

Swan Lake, The Curve, Leicester

Swan Lake at Curve Theatre, Leicester
©Curve Theatre
On a miserable November evening, The Curve was a beacon of lit-up floor to ceiling windows, big,  multi-coloured Christmas tree style light bulbs strung garland style across the windows.  I’ve got used to the inside now and like the  huge spaces:  a cross between an aircraft hangar and a factory with all the gleaming pipes above looking as though they’re wrapped in bacofoil. 

Swan Lake at The Curve, Leicester
Swan Lake©Bill Cooper
We were at The Curve for Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, the story revolving around the Prince, like a slumping shouldered Rodney from Only Fools and Horses with mental health and alcohol issues.  He was pathetically desperate for love, which wasn’t coming from his Queen, played like a controlling but rejecting mother rather than partner.

I loved the sleazy bar scenes, the ballet within a ballet that the Prince and his entourage watched and the laugh-out-loud humour when the Prince’s fluffy-love interest’s mobile went off while they were watching the ballet and us in the audience thinking, OMG – is that mine?

The swans’ dancing was amazing, perfectly choreographed, although the principal white swan’s chest was sweating like past-by-sell-by-date pre-packed ham, but I’m sure it couldn’t be helped.
Swan Lake at The Curve, Leicester
Swan Lake©Bill Cooper
The scene where the prince unravelled further was set in a ballroom with huge pillars and two great Olympic style torches suggesting the power of the old Eastern Bloc and then the Stranger arrived, like some Russian Mafia man, slapping his black leather trousers, big, bold and dominant, turning every woman’s head not to mention the Princes’, although once again he was rejected.
The female dancer’s costumes in this scene were fabulous:  a black velvet suit with sequin revers, a net dress with two butterflies of chiffon protecting the dancer’s modesty.  The fluffy love interest was in black sequins and lace and the Queen, most definitely the Queen Bee, was in serious scarlet with layers of black beneath.  And how did they manage to dance in high heels?  Only one pair of proper ballet shoes to be seen and that was in the ballet within the ballet.

Next the bewildered, mad, prince is in a blindingly white room, the sinister Svengali figure in cahoots with the Queen, orchestrating electrolysis treatment delivered by robotic, masked medic dancers and … well .. it’s never going to be a happy ending is it?

Overall, this Swan Lake production was one that you could love on so many levels.  The dancing, of course, but even if you aren’t into ballet, the costumes and the scenery were great as well as the actual acting.  I’d not appreciated what good actors that dancers also need to be to convey action and moods with everything being conveyed through body language rather than speech.
The Good:  Going to a ballet and really enjoying it.
The Not so Good: My coffee at the interval was in a horrible, disposable cup.
Go Again: Definitely, I'd like to see another ballet – The Nutcracker maybe?




  1. I adore Bourne's Swan Lake. I saw it at Curve a few years ago and really wanted to go again this time, but by the time I got my act together it had sold out.

  2. It was brilliant and thanks for my first comment! My technophobe friends / family which at the moment are my biggest audience can't seem to leave one.


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