5-6 February 2017
Reviewed by Dotty Winters
Going to the ballet always feels like a real occasion, and the grand surroundings of Stoke-on-Trent’s Regent’s Theatre provide a suitable backdrop. Centrally located, with good transport links and close of low-cost parking, it’s a great location for a night of musical escapism. As ever, the Regent’s staff were knowledgeable and helpful and a pre-bar drink in the elegant piano bar was the perfect start to the night’s event.
Swan Lake is often cited as the world’s favourite ballet, and in terms of music and iconic imagery is certainly one of the best known. The story in perhaps less well known in the UK, where the Swan Lake fairy tale is rarely told outside the context of ballet. The story is one of enchantment, love, seduction and betrayal, spread across 3 acts (with two intervals).
For me, ballet, when watched live is one of the most utterly transporting forms of entertainment. The shapes and forms that the dancers make as they interpret the music are incredible, and Swan Lake, in particular, is packed with high-impact emotional moments. The costumes were very impressive, especially in the impressively luxurious second act. The choreography for this production perfectly showcased the endurance and flexibility of the dancers. Performances by three of the soloists (The Swan Queen, Rathbone and The Jester) were incredibly strong, and this was reflected in the reception that they each received at the curtain call. It was particularly lovely to see how many young children were in the audience (some in ballet costumes) seeing live ballet for the first time, and it was clear that the experience more than lived up to their expectations for drama, high romance, magic and performance.
This production is traditional in all senses, from the choreography to the costumes. Reverting to traditional simplicity allows the performances and the familiar music to shine. That said, in recent years there has been an increase in more contemporary, theatrical dance productions, and the return to a more traditional form feels like quite a gear shift, the sets were pretty, but lacked the innovation that theatre audiences have become accustomed to.
This accomplished production is very much a traditional ballet, ideal for fans of time-honored customs of ballet, and for fans of more contemporary dance who wish to revisit the roots of the art-form.
Tickets cost from £16.90 to £34.90 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
St Petersburg Ballet Theatre presents Swan Lake is at the Regent Theatre in Stoke until 6 February 2017. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 7649.
Regent Theatre, Piccadilly, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1 1AP | 0844 871 7649