Review: Swan Lake at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

It may be a tragic love story but theatre goers flooded on to Lichfield Street after last night’s Swan Lake performance with grins from ear to ear.

The English Youth Ballet perform the classic love story Swan Lake at Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre
The English Youth Ballet perform the classic love story Swan Lake at Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre

This was an adaptation of the famous Russian ballet specifically designed by the English Youth Ballet to accommodate hordes of talented schoolchildren from around the region in the classic story.

At times there were more than 70 youngsters on stage at the same time and it was a tribute to their skill, discipline, and sheer memory that they were no collisions or trips.

The children launched the show with their turns at the lunch reception for the Tsar at the Marinsky Theatre and they finished it, with their staunch attempts to protect Odette from the villainous Von Rothbart – and they pretty much dominated everything in between.

The ensemble performance from young dancers aged from eight to 18 was incredibly impressive given they have been in rehearsal for only a few weeks.

More than 100 students locally were chosen from almost 300 hopefuls, including 33 from the Black Country and Staffordshire.

Among the ballet schools represented were the Cannock Academy of Dance, Stourbridge Dance Academy and Walsall Academy of Dance.

The scale of the production was immense and the costumes were fabulous, providing, in turn, a kaleidoscope of colour and a sea of white tulle.

Special mention should go to the choreography – spectacular in its pageantry – and giving everyone plenty of stage time while tolerating no between-scene hold-ups.

The principal dancers Julianne Rice-Oxley as white swan Odette, Oliver Speers as Prince Sergei and Emma Lister as the black swan, Princess Odile, were effortlessly elegant.

Speers, in particular, seemed to leap in slow motion, such was his skill and control.

By Marion Brennan

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