Dance Review: Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake - King's Theatre, Glasgow ✭✭✭✭✭

The programme announces "the legend returns" and if any production deserves the moniker of "legend" it's Matthew Bourne's iconic Swan Lake. First produced in 1995, this new production feels as fresh and ground breaking as when it first burst onto the stage.

Sir Matthew Bourne and Lez Brotherston have refreshed the production with revised choreography, set and costume design. It further benefits from a brand new lighting design by Paul Constable. Together, these award-winning designers have reinvigorated this already contemporary production and energised it for the next 24 years.

This globally successful and iconic production is often mistaken as an "all male ballet" but Swan Lake's highly talented, and numerous, cast includes both male and female performers who create vivid characters with their whole performance. The humour that flows through the piece contrasts the poignancy and emotion perfectly creating an evening full of highs and lows for the audience.

Nicole Kabera's Queen appears aloof until in male company where she effortlessly switches into femme fatale mode to the poor Prince's horror. As the Girlfriend struts in ripping through the tradition and ceremony surrounding the Royal Family, she feels so familiar. Her scene when the family attends the ballet is pure comedic genius, on this occasion performed exquisitely by Katrina Lyndon, and is simply wonderful. It's impossible not to be thrilled by the ballet within the ballet as it pokes fun at the traditional form with the Girlfriend's asides are utterly scene-stealing.

Max Westwell is compelling as The Swan / The Stranger and commands the stage from the moment The Swan appears above The Prince's bed in the opening scene. Dominic North's Prince is deprived of affection, vulnerable and their scenes together are charged with emotion. The swans are formidable as a flock and they dominate the stage. They are awe-inspiring and completely mesmerising. From the subtle neck and arm movements to the noises they make, they completely embody the sheer elegance and majesty of swans. Whenever they are on the stage their performances are complex and energetic with their bodies soaked in sweat from the exertion by the end.

This revival is more than simply a rehashing of an existing production, the whole team and cast have worked hard to ensure that this modern day classic enthrals and excites the audience whether they have seen it before or not. It continues to defy and challenge the audience, drawing them in by bringing down the fourth wall and enticing them to the heart of this emotional piece. The reception from the audience was rapturous and rightly so.

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake is at the King's Theatre Glasgow until Saturday 10th March. For tickets visit ATG Tickets.

Edited for clarification 11th March 2019