Friday, 28th October 2005 – Swan Lake, Milton Keynes Theatre
Last night we went to Milton Keynes Theatre for the first time. The reason was Matthew Bourne‘s Swan Lake (yes, the one with the male swans). There was a massively full house, probably partly because Northampton’s two theatres are both closed for the foreseeable future while they are renovated, and partly because a large part of the audience were keen to see this work again, ten years after it premiered. In fact the crowd seemed to be split between those who knew what they were in for, and those who were expecting a nice, traditional ballet, with men dancing with women, not men dancing with men…
Lynne and I met up in La Tasca over the road at Xscape, for tapas and sherry beforehand, and then met Steffy in the theatre just before curtain up.
The performance was excellent, a fine mix of humour (in the first half) and tragedy, with the cast on fine form, and although the principal Swan, Jason Piper, doesn’t quite have the stage presence of Adam Cooper (after all who does?) he’s still mightily impressive. Lynne and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Steffy, who wasn’t sure what to expect, was much entertained, and we all enjoyed ourselves listening to the comments of some of the rest of the audience, especially the elderly lady who saw my programme, and asked “If I’d got a programme, would I have understood what was happening?” My précis may have been a tad short, though I thought it summed it up neatly – “Basically, in the original version, the prince falls for a swan princess. Here he falls for a swan prince,” but it didn’t seem to help her much! Oh well, never mind. We understood.
Afterwards, we nipped back to La Tasca to have dessert, then headed home.