Sadler’s Wells Theatre
Reviewed – 13th December 2018
“Wild and vicious, curious and testosterone fuelled, like creatures from an ancient myth made flesh”
This restaging of Matthew Bourne’s iconic Swan Lake is superb. It is wild, funny, vicious, lyrical and heartbreakingly beautiful. The first incarnation of the show was in 1995, and it caused quite a stir, replacing ballerinas in tutus and feathered headdresses with muscular male dancers, but it won the hearts of audiences straight away, encouraging more young men to become dancers, and building a new audience for ballet. The audience tonight was enthralled throughout, with that incredible stillness that only the very best in theatre and dance can create. And when the curtain came down the standing ovation was total, instant and long. We didn’t want to let the dancers go.
Dancing the Swan and the Stranger tonight was Will Bozier. He is powerful and irresistible as the sexy, leather trousered stranger at the Royal Ball, and compelling as the Swan, inhabiting the strange avian otherworldliness of the choreography with passion and strength. Dominic North’s Prince is a fish out of water at the court, a lost young man who we immediately feel for. His first sight of the Swan is electric, and his joy when they finally dance together is palpable and moving. His acting is extraordinarily good, and gives his character a reality that is rare in dance.
Carrie Willis, as the girlfriend is a treat. She is a TOWIE princess, at sea in the Royal world, annoying, sweet, hilarious and loveable. Even when dancing in the ball scene she kept her quirky character intact. Katrina Lyndon is fabulous as the queen, clearly enjoying male intention, particularly when the Stranger arrives, and incapable of understanding her son. The female ensemble are strong, and when the smouldering, sexy stranger arrived, they approached him, there were no shrinking violets here, they knew what, or rather who, they wanted. And they managed to dance it in heels.
The power of the ensemble of swans is extraordinary. The sound of bare feet on the stage, their audible breathing, the hissing…. Wild and vicious, curious and testosterone fuelled, like creatures from an ancient myth made flesh.
Lee Brotherson’s design creates the world of the court, the street and the seedy club with an atmospheric and vivid aesthetic, beautifully complemented by the drama of Paule Constable’s lighting design. Its always good to have a live orchestra, and Tchaikovsky’s music is still running through my mind as I write. Matthew Bourne and his team have created a masterpiece. I hope it will live on for many more years.
Reviewed by Katre
Photography by Johan Persson
Sadler’s Wells Theatre until 27th January
then UK Tour continues
Previously reviewed at this venue:
NEW ADVENTURES ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL DATES
with an unprecented return to venues for the
WORLD PREMIERE TOUR
Based on the film by MICHAEL POWELL and EMERIC PRESSBURGER
and the HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN fairytale
Music by BERNARD HERRMANN
New Adventures are delighted to announce further UK dates for the World Premiere tour of Matthew Bourne’s production of THE RED SHOES.
The tour will now continue to: Sheffield Lyceum from Tuesday 30 May – Saturday 3 June; Glasgow King’s Theatre from Tuesday 6 June – Saturday 10 June; Wycombe Swan from Tuesday 13 June – Saturday 17 June and the Liverpool Empire from Tuesday 27 June – Saturday 1 July.
Due to popular demand THE RED SHOES will then make an unprecedented return to The Lowry, Salford from Tuesday 11 July – Saturday 15 July and Birmingham Hippodrome from Wednesday 19 July – Saturday 22 July. The production sold out at The Lowry in November 2016 and has already sold out at Birmingham Hippodrome before its first visit in February 2017. Full tour schedule below.
THE RED SHOES will also tour to four cities in America later this year. Full details to be announced shortly.
The World Premiere tour of THE RED SHOES opened at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in November and is now five weeks into a sold out eight week Christmas season at Sadler’s Wells, where it opened to rave reviews. The performances at Sadler’s Wells are the fastest selling in New Adventures history. The production is also sold out in Woking and Birmingham with limited availability at the remaining venues throughout February – Milton Keynes and Norwich.
The role of “Victoria Page”, the girl who dreams of being a great dancer, immortalised on screen by Moira Shearer, has been created by New Adventures star, Ashley Shaw, most recently seen across the UK and internationally as “Aurora” in Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty. Rising star and fellow “Aurora”, Cordelia Braithwaite, also plays the role, along with Sleeping Beauty favourite Katrina Lyndon in her principal role debut (at certain performances).
Sam Archer who created the title role of Edward Scissorhands in 2005 and who has starred in Cinderella, The Car Man and Play Without Words has returned to the Company to play the iconic role of Svengali-like Impresario “Boris Lermontov”. One of New Adventures’ finest leading men, Chris Trenfield, also plays Lermentov, as well as musical genius, “Julian Craster”; the man with whom Victoria Page falls in love. Sharing the role of Julian will be one of New Adventures most popular dancers, Dominic North, who was last year nominated for his second National Dance Award, along with rising star Andrew Monaghan who has already debuted leading roles in Swan Lake, The Car Man and Sleeping Beauty.
Completing the principal cast are the leading dancers of the Lermentov Company. Prima Ballerina, “Irina Boronskaja” is played by Michela Meazza, who returns to New Adventures where she has danced and created many leading roles (including “Lady H” in Dorian Gray, “Joyce” in Edward Scissorhands and “The Stepmother” in Cinderella). She is joined by Company favourites Anjali Mehra, most recently seen as both “The Queen” and “The Girlfriend” in Swan Lake and Nicole Kabera, who most recently played “Queen Eleanor” in Sleeping Beauty.
“Ivan Boleslawsky” the role made famous by Robert Helpmann has been created by one of New Adventures finest young dancers, Liam Mower (the original West End Billy Elliot but now taking on his seventh principal role with New Adventures). Also playing Ivan is popular company dancer, Danny Reubens, who scored a great personal success recently as “Jack” in Lord Of The Flies.
Company choreographer and ‘character dancer’ “Grischa Ljubov”, has been created by veteran company dancer, Glenn Graham, who as well as playing “The Swan” in Swan Lake has recently been seen as “King Benedict” in Sleeping Beauty. Also playing the role of Grischa will be Leon Moran recently seen in Sleeping Beauty, The Car Man and as “Jim” in Edward Scissorhands.
Completing the New Adventures cast as the leading dancers and creative team behind the Ballet Lermentov are Steph Billers, Will Bozier, Jack Jones, Daisy May Kemp, Phil King, Dominic Lamb, Kate Lyons, Joe Walkling and Katie Webb. Joshua Harriette (Ballet Black, Michael Clark Company) and Seren Williams (Ballet Central graduate) made their debuts with New Adventures in this production.
A beloved fairy-tale and Academy Award-winning movie, THE RED SHOES has seduced audiences and inspired generations of dancers with its tale of obsession, possession and one girl’s dream to be the greatest dancer in the world. Victoria Page lives to dance but her ambitions become a battleground between the two men who inspire her passion.
Matthew Bourne’s magical new adaptation of the legendary Powell and Pressburger film reunites him with his regular collaborators and New Adventures Associate Artists and the team that brought you the world wide hit, Sleeping Beauty; Lez Brotherston (set and costumes), Paule Constable (lighting) and Paul Groothuis (sound).
This World Premiere is set to a new score arranged by New Adventures Associate Artist, Terry Davies using the mesmerizing music of golden-age Hollywood composer, Bernard Herrmann (most famous for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles and Martin Scorsese), whose work ranges from the witty and playfully robust to the achingly romantic and bittersweet.
An intoxicating drama where life imitates art with fateful consequences; THE RED SHOES will dazzle your senses and break your heart.
THE RED SHOES is supported using public funds by Arts Council England.
For more information please visit
All production images courtesy of photographer:
Full Tour Details
THE WORLD PREMIERE TOUR OF MATTHEW BOURNE’S PRODUCTION OF THE RED SHOES 2017
TUESDAY 6 DECEMBER 2016 – SUNDAY 29 JANUARY 2017
TUESDAY 31 JANUARY – SATURDAY 4 FEBRUARY 2017
TUESDAY 7 FEBRUARY – SATURDAY 11 FEBRUARY 2017
TUESDAY 14 FEBRUARY – SATURDAY 18 FEBRUARY 2017
TUESDAY 21 FEBRUARY – SATURDAY 25 FEBRUARY 2017
TUESDAY 7 MARCH – SATURDAY 11 MARCH 2017
TUESDAY 14 MARCH – SATURDAY 18 MARCH 2017
WALES MILLENNIUM CENTRE, CARDIFF www.wmc.org.uk
TUESDAY 21 MARCH – SATURDAY 25 MARCH 2017
TUESDAY 28 MARCH – SATURDAY 1 APRIL 2017
TUESDAY 4 APRIL – SATURDAY 9 APRIL 2017
TUESDAY 11 APRIL – SATURDAY 15 APRIL 2017
TUESDAY 25 APRIL – SATURDAY 29 APRIL 2017
TUESDAY 2 MAY – SATURDAY 6 MAY
TUESDAY 9 MAY – SATURDAY 13 MAY
TUESDAY 16 MAY – SATURDAY 20 MAY
NEW DATES FOR 2017
TUESDAY 30 MAY – SATURDAY 3 JUNE
ON SALE 28 JANUARY 2017
TUESDAY 6 JUNE – SATURDAY 10 JUNE
ON SALE NOW
TUESDAY 13 JUNE – SATURDAY 17 JUNE
ON SALE NOW
TUESDAY 27 JUNE – SATURDAY 1 JULY
ON SALE FRIDAY 13 JANUARY 2017
TUESDAY 11 JULY – SATURDAY 15 JULY
ON SALE NOW
WEDNESDAY 19 JULY – SATURDAY 22 JULY
ON SALE FRIDAY 13 JANUARY 2017