My First Ballet: Swan Lake theatre review: Darkness and hate can be conquered by friendship, forgiveness and love.
My First Ballet: Swan Lake theatre review by Katey Thompson.
My First Ballet: Swan Lake is a perfect introduction to the world of ballet, no matter how big or small you are. The story is a classic, Odette is turned into a swan by her friend Odile’s brother, the wicked wizard Rothbart, and only true love will save Odette. Rothbart does not want to loose Odette so dresses Odile up as a swan for Prince Siegfried to fall in love with. Odile realises what wizard Rothbart has done and helps protect Odette and Siegfried. Rothbart faces up to what he has done wrong and is forgiven by Odile who takes wizard Rothbart’s wings whilst Odette and Prince Siegfried live happily ever after.
The narrator Louise Calf introduces the story as it being about her numerous greats grandmother Odile. She fits smoothly into the story either introducing what you are about to see or explaining the movements of the dancers. The commentary is not always necessary “he puts down the bow”, but it does not intrude into the beauty of the dancing and does shed light on what can be a confusing world for new comers. Perhaps more ballets in this style would help increase peoples interest in ballet. I did like the fact that the narration meant my 5 year old was not continually asking questions, so it made for a more peaceful and enjoyable experience.
The scenery, is beautiful and classically depicted, as you are taken to the castle, the wood or the lake by simple additions or changes in lighting in back drop. Combined with the fabulous costumes, which clearly distinguish between the good/bad, this helps the audience recall and recognise who is present. The music is by Tchaikovsky and the spectacular recorded music has been arranged brilliantly by Gavin Sutherland, my children loved it and were waiting with anticipation for the next explosion of sound and beauty on the stage. The length of the two halves has been perfectly considered for the younger members of the audience who are not yet ready for a full length ballet extravaganza.
The audience was a mix of boys and girls, with lots of the girls wanting to be the princess. My daughter was totally transfixed by the spectacle that was occurring, and could not stop talking about the beautiful swans that were on the stage. She did jump when the lightening appeared and Rothbart first made his presence felt on the stage, she was wary but not terrified by him. My son loved the wings/cape of Rothbart and wished he could have one to wear (as it reminded him of Batman). He was thrilled by wizard Rothbart’s strength and power and would like to be able to dance like that, I was pleased that this ballet made him realise that not all ballet dancers wear pink tutus.
This a beautifully choreographed love story that seamlessly carries you through the story of Swan Lake. Is for anyone who would like to dip their toes into the world of ballet and understand the story of Swan Lake, but are not yet ready for a full immersion.
My First Ballet: Swan Lake theatre review by Katey Thompson, May 2018.
Swan Lake is running at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking until Sunday 13th May 2018.