Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Birmingham Hippodrome - review

By Maria Cusine | Entertainment | Published:

Mesmerizing, breathtaking, outstanding, thrilling, brilliant.

Will Bozier 'The Swan' and Dominic North 'The Prince'. Picture: Johan Persson

You could run out of superlatives to describe Sir Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake.

Because this spectacular show is firmly at the top of the pecking order in the world of dance.

Bourne has done it again. It’s no wonder the production, which he first created in 1995, is billed as ‘the legend returns’ on posters and programmes.

That’s no hype. This is legendary.

Twenty-three years on this iconic show is soaring to new heights.

Clever choreography, amazing athletic dancers, stunning sets and menacing music make this a must-see show.

And while it’s dark, tragic and menacing, Bourne also delivers a sassy show with comic touches.

This Swan Lake is perhaps still best known for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with an all-male ensemble, which shattered conventions, turned tradition upside down and took the dance world by storm.


Bourne’s interpretation has returned to Birmingham Hippodrome with a fresh look for the 21st century.

Bourne and award-winning designers Lez Brotherston and Paule Constable have made some little tweaks but it still retains the iconic elements of the original production.

A stand -out factor in this 2018 revival is the amazing energy and intensity from the flock of sinister swans, all macho as they stamp, kick and hiss across the stage.

Tchaikovsky’s well-loved and familiar score is unrivalled.


And it felt fresh and well-matched to Bourne’s contemporary choreography.

While every member of the company is to be commended, special mention goes to Dominic North, who is engaging as the lonely young Prince who desperately wants to be loved and also to Katrina Lyndon who plays his unsuitable girlfriend to comic perfection.

But best of all is Will Bozier in the role of The Swan/The Stranger.

He takes command of the stage, with a performance which perfectly encapsulates the split personality concept.

He is the arrogant cad who can be effortlessly charming.

He is the unquestioned leader of the lake with a vulnerable side.

Bozier’s hisses, struts and grunts and exceptional dancing skills portray such a primeval passion that makes him perfect for the role.

Swan Lake truly is a Bourne Supremacy.

The lengthy standing ovation the show received on opening night was thoroughly deserved.

The show runs at Birmingham Hippodrome until February 16 – get a ticket if you can!

Maria Cusine

By Maria Cusine

Head of News


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