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The season of performances opened tonight in Plymouth.  All reviews and comments on here please.  Over to you!

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OK, well here goes - I don't think I've ever written the first review before!

 

The performance went down very well - a standing ovation for the cast. Matthew Bourne is very popular in Plymouth and he makes no secret of the fact that he likes Plymouth and often opens here. I didn't bother with a programme as they never have casting in it, but thankfully they posted up cast lists around the foyer areas so I took note, not knowing the dancers in New Adventures well enough to identify them by sight.

 

The Swan/Stranger - Matthew Ball.

The Prince - Liam Mower.

The Queen - Nicole Kagera.

The Girlfriend - Katrina Lyndon.

The Private Secretary - Glenn Graham.

 

I'm not a fan of Matthew Ball in everything, but I thought, when they announced that he would be dancing in this, that the role would be an excellent fit for him and play to his strengths, and I'm happy to report that my instinct didn't err in this respect. Ball was terrific. I think there were a few first night nerves - he was a bit tentative to begin with, and had an unfortunate slip at one point (the sort of thing that could happen to anybody), but he recovered quickly and his performance quickly gathered pace. He made a strong and sinuous swan, and really came into his own in Act 2 as the Stranger - he smouldered his way around the stage, swaggering, bold and charismatic, with excellent partnering too. Very James Dean! The final scenes with the swans in the Prince's bedroom was danced to the hilt and with passion.

 

The whole cast were excellent, Liam Mower in particular, and he and Ball made a good pair who seemed to connect with each other very well. And of course the Swans - a tough thing to dance - were all fantastic. On the way out there were some other cast members who had been in the audience watching and they confirmed that the Swans are exhausting to dance. It was nice to talk to them and wish them luck for the rest of the run.

 

As far as the actual ballet goes - this was my first time seeing Bourne's Swan Lake - not quite sure why, just never seem to have got round to seeing it before! I have, however, seen several Bourne ballets and I do feel that Bourne is somehow like a bit of a secret that I haven't quite been let in on. I've never disliked anything of his that I've seen - but I always come away not quite sure what everyone raves about. Mild enjoyment is generally my reaction but with no particular desire to see it again. Swan Lake was slightly better in this respect and I found the ending rather more moving than the new RB version, truth be told. I do like the touches of humour he seems to put in all his ballets, and it's always very cleverly choreographed and staged - but.... I'm not sure I can put my finger on it.

 

That said, I was very glad I dragged myself out in the filthy weather and Ball was well worth it!

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Lovely review, balletfanp. Thank you so much for posting. Lucky you - you got Matthew Ball and Liam Mower (the original stage Billy Elliot) and Katrina Lyndon (ex RBS).

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Thanks for the lovely review, Ballet Fan.  I just knew Matthew Ball would be amazing in this role, and as he does more performances and beds into it, he will keep getting better and better!  

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Great review, Ballet fan.  Thanks for all the detail.  I share something of your views, having struggled with Cinderella.  Still, looking forward to seeing Matthew in London.

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I certainly struggle with Bourne. What others see as imaginative reinventions I find somewhat sordid and depressing, and what others see as knowing wit, I just find annoying.  

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Booked to take my ballet boy in April to Liverpool Empire. Managed to got front row seats so he can “watch the feet” as he put it! We saw Bournes Cinderella there last year and it was thoroughly enjoyed, even from our seats up in the gods! 😆

Roll on April!! 👍👍👍👍

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Wonder if Matthew Ball will be available to dance in his home city?

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Mrs Moo, I don't want to alarm you but when the orchestra pit isn't in (ie row AA-DD are being sold) those rows are too low to see the feet.  You will need a booster cushion for him.  I'm 5'3" and prefer to go row K or further back if the front row isn't A.  I go so far back because that is where the rake on the stalls starts, otherwise heads in the way are a big problem.

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Just now, alison said:

Wonder if Matthew Ball will be available to dance in his home city?

 

A non-ballet watching friend told me she heard him being interviewed on one of the local radio stations and he said he will be dancing on the Friday and Saturday evenings (all being well of course).

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1 hour ago, Jan McNulty said:

Mrs Moo, I don't want to alarm you but when the orchestra pit isn't in (ie row AA-DD are being sold) those rows are too low to see the feet.  You will need a booster cushion for him.  I'm 5'3" and prefer to go row K or further back if the front row isn't A.  I go so far back because that is where the rake on the stalls starts, otherwise heads in the way are a big problem.

Don’t worry, we’ll take a massive cushion! 😆😆

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I've got Ball for my birthday.  Not that I've booked yet anyway.  And I'd be quite interested to see Max Westwell :) 

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Really enjoyed watching Swan Lake at the Lowry yesterday afternoon. I bought a last minute ticket and had a great seat. It was a fabulous performance, Max Westwell was great.

I often visit the Lowry and was caught out as how busy it was. I had to park on the 5th floor on the car park and it took about 10 minutes to find a space and 25 minutes to get out. I assume it is due to the Christmas (?) market outside the theatre. 

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I saw the first and last nights at the Lowry.

 

I first saw Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in its premiere run at Sadler's Wells in 1995 and have seen it quite a few times since.  Right from the first performance I saw it has made perfect sense to me that the swans were danced by men.  They are so powerful they have always struck me as masculine birds.  I also like the wit of this production in the opening scenes and the occasional homages to the original Petipa choreography.

 

This has been advertised as a revised production and I think there were some tweaks that have made some sections more danced but I didn't notice too many changes.  What did come across is that the costumes look brand new and the production has certainly been tightened and positively sparkles anew.

 

The first night cast was led by Will Bozier and Dominic North.  The last time I had seen Swan Lake it was at The Lowry and the Swan was danced by Jon Ollivier so I was feeling pretty emotional before the performance started.  Perhaps that goes towards my sobbing out loud in the final tragic scenes.  It was an incredibly powerful and emotional performance.  Dominic North (a well know fact) walks on water and was just perfect as the anguished, lonely Prince.  He was the perfect foil for Will Bozier's powerful Swan/Stranger.  In the final scene waves of intense emotion were sweeping over the footlights and into the audience.  The whole cast absolutely sparkled.  It was an emotional and magical evening.

 

So tonight's cast was led by Matthew Ball and Liam Mower.  What can I say ... they were completely, utterly and totally magnificent!  What a very special performance it was.  Matthew Ball's stage presence was almost overwhelming, from the very first second he appeared he absolutely dominated the action.  He and Liam Mower were very well matched and their scenes together were breath-taking.  I had a serious lump in my throat after the white adagio.  On a number of occasions they were so exciting to watch that I kept forgetting to breathe.  In the ballroom scene, Matthew Ball taking the Neapolitan lady's shoe off was one of the most erotic things I have seen on stage!!  The final scenes were heartbreaking and again I was reduced to sobbing out loud by the end of the evening. 

 

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Goodness, the performing pace which Matthew Ball is maintaining at the moment is truly astonishing. But, then, it was a good idea to re-bed himself into this Swan Lake before opening at Sadlers Wells this week.

 

Thank you for a great review, Jan.

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47 minutes ago, capybara said:

Goodness, the performing pace which Matthew Ball is maintaining at the moment is truly astonishing. But, then, it was a good idea to re-bed himself into this Swan Lake before opening at Sadlers Wells this week.

 

Thank you for a great review, Jan.

 

It's also a nearly-local venue for him and he had a lot of local supporters in last night (and I'm sure Friday too).

 

I forgot to mention that the one bit I have never liked - the ballet section when the Royal family is at the theatre - didn't bother me half as much as it used to!  In fact I quite enjoyed it.

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Very glad I bought one of the few (not very good) remaining tickets for the Matthew Ball cast at SW yesterday, there is an article today in the Sunday Times Culture section, and now your review confirms that it's going to be very special!

 

The article says Matthew Bourne wanted to replace the Fergie girl with a Meghan, but didn't have time!

 

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On 02/12/2018 at 16:49, Beryl H said:

The article says Matthew Bourne wanted to replace the Fergie girl with a Meghan, but didn't have time!

 

Ah that WOULD have been fantastic

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I just read on social media that Matthew Ball is injured. I have a ticket to see one of his shows.

Does anyone have any information if he'll be back soon for his scheduled shows in London or not? 

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Oh no.  I do hope it isn't serious.  For his sake, of course, but selfishly for mine too as I have a ticket for the 30th....I am soooo hoping to see him.

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3 hours ago, Xandra Newman said:

I just read on social media that Matthew Ball is injured. I have a ticket to see one of his shows.

Does anyone have any information if he'll be back soon for his scheduled shows in London or not? 

 

Where did you read this, Xandra?

Feeling very concerned for Matthew.

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New Adventures have been announcing via Twitter who is dancing in his place each time. They announced tonight’s change about half an hour ago. 

I’m hoping that because they’re leaving this so close to the performance each time it’s not too bad, but I could be very wrong!

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4 minutes ago, alison said:

Is there an understudy, or are the other two having to fill in?

 

So far the other two have been filling in. 

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