Who ever said the ballet was cheesy and girly is clearly delusional. I've just seen the coolest, hippest, hottest ballet ever and it was right here in London. Matthew Bourne's rendition of Swan Lake at Islington's Sadlers Wells, was a real gem to watch. The music was, as usual, stunning and captivating. I even caught myself closing my eyes a few times too man, swaying side by side along the waltz-like tempo, and dreaming I was swept off my feet by the young prince himself. The set design, was yes, unusual, but surprisingly fresh and creative. The story, fun, light and relateable, caught me by surprise and was something to the sort of Hello's cover story from last March. A young prince, torn between fulfilling the duties asked of him by his Queen Mother and the Kingdom, and not succombing to the temptations of real life, girls, alcohol and rock n' roll. (Prince Harry anyone?)
Actually, I not only realized that I was witnessing a whole new modern adaptation of the classic romance story I was once so attached to as a little girl, but that the cutesy frilly young swan ballerinas, weren't the slim, feminine, or goddess-like ballerinas we all know too well. Yes, they were slim. Yes they were god-like. But they were certainly not feminine. In fact, the men impersonating the hundreds of swans haunting the young prince's dreams were more haunting than the the dream itself. Their bodies...My God! Their bodies!
The story itself is endearing. Touching really. Even haunting. And sometimes cheery, fun and comical. The young prince tries hard to gain his mother's tough (yet promiscuous!) love and approval but in vain, fails. He then escapes his rejections by dreaming up a storm, wherein swans appear by the hundreds and suddenly become a symbol for the love his mum is unable to give him. The relationship between himself and the king swan is unnervingly touching and powerful. You will want to run on stage and grab the boy for a good ol' hug. Don't do it though, you run the risk of getting booed. I tried it, no fun. Watch a short clip here.