Tag Archives: Highland Fling

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Behind the Scenes as Scottish Ballet stage Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling

Back in 2013, GTB was invited to breakfast with Scottish Ballet as they went through their morning class before the matinee and evening performances of Matthew Bourne’s innovative take on La Sylphide Highland Fling.

Here, from the archives are some rehearsal videos and behind the scenes shots of this hard-working (6 days a week!) company. Excuse the ropey camera phone video quality. Such a fabulous show – set in Glasgow – it deserves another moment in the spotlight.

Sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll is not the usual tag line for a Scottish Ballet production but Matthew Bourne could never be accused of being your usual choreographer and Scottish Ballet continue to cement their reputation as a company with a clear artistic vision, breaking new ground by introducing  innovative modern works alongside their vast classical repertoire.

This piece marks the first time Matthew Bourne has ever allowed another company to perform one of his works, such is his control over his artistic vision. That said, the two seemed destined to come together, Bourne’s Glasgow-set ballet finally coming home to the city and Scotland’s national ballet company.

Inspired by the classic romantic work La Sylphide, Highland Fling  is an imaginative re-working by Bourne with his usual wry twist and trademark eye for detail.

Highland Fling follows the story of James, a restless young Glaswegian recently married to his devoted girlfriend Effie, but James’ addiction to excess and desire to break free of  the restrictions and expectations  placed on him by his environment finds him in the fateful company of a beguiling gothic fairy.  As his love for the strange and beautiful sylph becomes an obsession, he embarks on a fateful journey that takes him from the mean streets and nightclubs of Glasgow into a magical world beyond reality and reason.

highland fling

 

As our (anti)hero staggers on-set and slumps to the floor against a urinal in the toilet of a Glasgow nightclub we are in no doubt that this isn’t going to be your usual ballet, but what really sets it apart, along with all of Bourne’s work, is the stunning complexity and intricacy of the choreography and the sharpness and accuracy with which it is executed. Owen Thorne’s performance as James is a testament to Bourne’s particular method of working: this is a character with a history, a back-story and Thorne manages to deliver the choreography whilst perfectly conveying the conflicted Glaswegian tough-guy persona underneath. Bethany Kingsley-Garner as the sylph is utterly other-worldly, beautifully conveying this bewitching creature from another realm. Both are ably supported by an ensemble of characters instantly recognisable to any city dweller.

highland fling scottish ballet

Lez Brotherston’s set design is a character in itself. It has more tartan than a tin of shortbread, delivering a technicolour assault to the senses, but looking beyond the obvious, witty nods to the best and worst of Caledonia abound. Brotherston also manages to perfectly evoke the eerie world of the sylphs nestled amongst the debris and detritus of a wasteland in the shadow of the Glasgow highrises.

Matthew Bourne's Highland Fling, performed by the Scottish Ballet

Part of the beauty of this cautionary tale is its brevity, at just over 95 minutes it packs a visual and emotional punch that leaves you reeling and begging for more.

highland fling scottish ballet kilt -4 matthew bourne highland fling

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REVIEW: Scottish Ballet – Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling

highlandfling

Sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll is not the usual tag line for a Scottish Ballet production but Matthew Bourne could never be accused of being your usual choreographer and Scottish Ballet continue to cement their reputation as a company with a clear artistic vision, breaking new ground by introducing  innovative modern works alongside their vast classical repertoire.

This piece marks the first time Matthew Bourne has ever allowed another company to perform one of his works, such is his control over his artistic vision. That said, the two seemed destined to come together, Bourne’s Glasgow-set ballet finally coming home to the city and Scotland’s national ballet company.

935601_10151581318633205_1594573198_n

Inspired by the classic romantic work La Sylphide, Highland Fling  is an imaginative re-working by Bourne with his usual wry twist and trademark eye for detail.

Highland Fling follows the story of James, a restless young Glaswegian recently married to his devoted girlfriend Effie, but James’ addiction to excess and desire to break free of  the restrictions and expectations  placed on him by his environment finds him in the fateful company of a beguiling gothic fairy.  As his love for the strange and beautiful sylph becomes an obsession, he embarks on a fateful journey that takes him from the mean streets and nightclubs of Glasgow into a magical world beyond reality and reason.

Matthew Bourne's Highland Fling, performed by the Scottish Ballet

As our (anti)hero staggers on-set and slumps to the floor against a urinal in the toilet of a Glasgow nightclub we are in no doubt that this isn’t going to be your usual ballet, but what really sets it apart, along with all of Bourne’s work, is the stunning complexity and intricacy of the choreography and the sharpness and accuracy with which it is executed. Owen Thorne’s performance as James is testament to Bourne’s particular method of working: this  is a character with a history, a back-story and Thorne manages to deliver the choreography whilst perfectly conveying the conflicted Glaswegian tough-guy persona underneath. Bethany Kingsley-Garner as the sylph is utterly other-wordly, beautifully conveying this bewitching creature from another realm. Both are ably supported by an ensemble of characters instantly recognisable to any city dweller.

highliandfling_2549654b

Lez Brotherston’s set design is a character in itself. It has more tartan than a tin of shortbread, delivering a technicolour assault to the senses, but looking beyond the obvious, witty nods to the best and worst of Caledonia abound. Brotherston also manages to perfectly evoke the eerie world of the sylphs nestled amongst the debris and detritus of a wasteland in the shadow of the Glasgow highrises.

Part of the beauty of this cautionary tale is its brevity, at just over 95 minutes it packs a visual and emotional punch that leaves you reeling and begging for more.

This is one of Scottish Ballet’s attempts to attract a new audience through its doors – what the old guard make of it remains to be seen, but this arresting tale, beautifully told, deserves to be seen. I urge you not to miss it.

On tour:

INVERNESS
9–11 May 2013
Eden Court
Box Office 01463 234 234
Book online
Full booking details

ABERDEEN
16-18 May 2013
His Majesty’s Theatre
Box Office 01224 641122
Book online
Full booking details

EDINBURGH
22-25 May 2013
Festival Theatre
Box Office 0131 529 6000
Book online
Full booking details

Booking fees may apply

FEATURE: Having a Highland Fling with Scottish Ballet

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‘Ballet meets Trainspotting’ in Scottish Ballet’s current production of Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling, and to celebrate the Glasgow performances Scottish Ballet invited Bloggers, Tweeters, Facebookers and Instagrammers to join them for a special insight event at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal yesterday .

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Starting with breakfast and a chance to meet fellow online theatre writers, the day then continued with an insightful and entertaining talk from Scottish Ballet education officer Emma Jane McHenry. We were eloquently taken through the development of Matthew Bourne’s stunning re-interpretation of La Sylphide, from the inspiration to create the piece, the design process (with a chance to see the costumes up close) and an intriguing insight into how Bourne’s signature choreography has developed.

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Next was the exclusive chance to watch the Company taking class on stage here at the Theatre Royal as the dancers rehearse scenes from this ‘romantic wee ballet’.

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*(Look out for the photo-post of the class, coming next.)

The morning ended with the chance to meet and talk to three of the stunningly talented dancers: Owen Thorne, Brenda Lee Grech and Bethany Kingsley-Garner who insightfully talked us through the development of their characters and the difficulties and differences classically trained dancers have adapting to  Bourne’s choreographic style and artistic process.

This was a fantastic event,  not to be missed, a privileged insight into Scottish Ballet and its works, delivered by friendly, welcoming, knowledgeable and utterly entertaining staff and artists.

Scottish Ballet’s production of Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling is touring to, Inverness, Aberdeen and Inverness throughout May 2013. For more information please visit www.scottishballet.co.uk