Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake Review – Unique Feathers are Flying

Will Bozier (center) and company in MATTHEW BOURNE'S SWAN LAKE - Photo by Craig Schwartz.
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When director/choreographer Matthew Bourne sets his sights on a legendary ballet, audiences can be sure of a special and unexpected treat. Combining traditional ballet movements with contemporary dance realignments coupled with old-fashioned stories with a modern twist, Bourne manages to create some novel and fascinating takes on the old masters. Bourne’s New Adventures is a ground-breaking British dance/theater company which never fails to breathe new life into its many projects.

L-R: Will Bozier and Nicole Kabera – Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Set to the glorious, yet familiar music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the bevy of swans is ready to dance this account of impossible love – but Bourne has made a few changes to the familiar tale. Gone are the pretty female swans in their fluttering feathery tutus. They have morphed into well-muscled, sinewy male birds of a feather. And they have also become a more aggressive and dangerous lot of fowl who seem to have developed an interesting new set of rules by which to live.

L-R: Andrew Monaghan (left), Will Bozier (center) and company – Photo by Craig Schwartz.

SWAN LAKE still tells the tale of a young prince (Andrew Monaghan on opening night with James Lovell during alternate performances) who longs for attention and affection from his aloof not-at-all maternal mom (Nicole Kabera with alternate Katrina Lyndon) who showers that very love he craves on the cute uniformed guards in their retinue. Even the emergence of a very sexy and very ambitious girlfriend (Katrina Lyndon with alternate Freya Field or Carrie Willis) cannot fill the emptiness he feels. That is, until he meets the world of the swans – and especially one very comely male swan (Will Bozier with alternate Max Westwell). The feathers will literally fly as this modern take on forbidden love comes to pass – especially when the intriguing and magnetic stranger (Will Bozier) shows up at the Royal Ball.

L-R: Katrina Lyndon, Andrew Monaghan and Keenan Fletcher (background) – Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Bourne’s SWAN LAKE manages to modernize an old favorite with the introduction of male swans – all the while adding new zest and titillation into the story. Because – for all the subtlety of Tchaikovsky and flowing dance – SWAN LAKE has become a truly erotic journey with overwhelming sensual suggestions and racy undertones. And, by the way, it also has some very humorous moments which will bring a smile to your lips. Over the years, Bourne has tweaked his SWAN LAKE into this present – and nearly perfect – form. Lez Brotherston’s set and costume design are elegant and worthy of a Royal house, and Paule Constable’s lighting and Ken Hampton’s sound add new dimensions to this classic tale. Perhaps Duncan McLean’s swan projection might be a bit more vivid as an introduction to this stunning, not-to-be-missed production.

L-R: Max Westwell and James Lovell – Photo by Craig Schwartz.


MATTHEW BOURNE’S SWAN LAKE runs through January 5, 2020, with performances at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays, at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundays (no performances on Thursday 12/12; added 2:30 p.m. performance in lieu of 8 p.m. on 12/24; no performances on 12/25/19 or 1/1/20; added 2:30 p.m. performances on Thursday 12/26/19 and Thursday 1/2/20; added 7 p.m. performance in lieu of 8 p.m. performance on 12/31/19). The Ahmanson Theatre is located at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Tickets range from $35 to $145. For information and reservations, call 213-972-4400 or go online.


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