THEATRE B A Reviews Swan Lake by David Nixon New Theatre Cardiff REVIEWS

Swan Lake

New Theatre

The Sadness of Love

Northern Ballet Theatre's version of Swan Lake is beautiful and graceful. The dancing is light and skilful, full of meaning and emotion. The three Acts have very different moods as the tragic story unfolds. From the beginning we are aware of the dead swan on stage, yet the ballet is uplifting and a delight to the eye and ear. The lighting effects combine with the music and movement to create the perfect atmosphere. The costumes are exquisite.

The first act is gentle and delicate, with playful dancing by the young men and women in a 1920's New England picnic setting. We meet Anthony danced by Jonathan Ollivier, his best friend Simon danced by Christopher Hinton-Lewis and a young lady, Odilia danced by Victoria Lane Green; innocent friendship becoming a possible love triangle which startles Anthony, who remains alone by the lake as the sun sets, to sleep and dream on the jetty. Swans appear in the moonlight and he dances with one, Odette (Keiko Amemori), obviously completely in love with her.

The music creates a feeling of underlying menace in the second act. Anthony is tormented by his love of Odette and is not interested in the party organised for him. Odilia enters the ballroom and her confidence is spellbinding. The lighting is harsh and cold. A competition ensues for her attention; Simon dances with her and then Anthony takes her from him. They dance alternately as couples, ending with Anthony and Simon dancing together in easy friendship. Anthony pulls away as they get too close and chooses Odilia.

The final act is sad and painful. Anthony stares at his swan drawings, ignoring Odilia who leaves the room. Simon brings him out of himself in a vibrant dance, full of melancholy love. Odilia returns and she and Simon fight, both in despair. Anthony returns to the lake where the sun is rising and the swans dance elegantly as Odette appears dressed in mourning. They dance together one last time, sadly echoing the movements of the first act. The swans move Anthony away as the music introduces a storm to the lake. I shall not reveal the ending, it is very appropriate considering the tale we have been told and very thought provoking.

This production is excellent. David Nixon's costume, set, lighting, dancing and direction all combine to create a seamless whole. © JD

“Swan Lake” is at the New Theatre Cardiff from the 15th of June until the 19th of June, 2004.

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