Tag Archives: Paule Constable

REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

It isn’t hyperbole to say that Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake changed the face of classical dance forever. Retaining Tchaikovsky’s original score, the rest of the ballet is turned completely on its head. For all its fantasy, in Bourne’s hands the story takes on a much more ‘human’ form. Instead of the Odette/Odile/Siegfried triangle it is now the tale of a melancholic, maternally rejected prince whose emotional demise we track through the course of this exquisitely conceived and delivered production. It is a dark and at times sinister tale of repression and sexual fantasy, punctuated throughout with clever humour. It is also, of course, that show with the gender swapped swans: instead of the prettily prancing pens, it’s a herd of predatory and powerful cobs sizzling with electricity and a large dose of menace. In ridding the story of its expected gender roles it has much more power.

Literally seen by millions around the world, it returns in 2019 with a fresh new (though not radically changed) look for the 21st Century at the hands of original designer Lez Brotherston, with a new lighting design from Paule Constable and with a few of the more tired background characters refreshed. This is a show that even without the changes can withstand multiple re-visits.

The stage bristles with life from curtain up and with intriguing choreographic ideas and mesmerising sequences of movement throughout, it is impossible not to be captivated. Dominic North’s Prince is beautifully danced and emotionally poignant and Max Westwell has a formidable presence, ensuring a searing and memorable performance as the Swan/Stranger.

Tchaikovsky’s 1875/6 score is re-ordered here and is sufficiently varied that a modern interpretation of the story can hang on it perfectly. It is fundamentally beautiful whichever order it is played in, and in whatever era its ballet is set.

Ballet snobs will hate it, but you would need to be emotionally and artistically devoid to fail to appreciate the visual spectacle and the sheer originality of storytelling and staging. Nearly a quarter of a century on it remains as utterly perfect as it ever was. Unmissable.

Runs until 9 March 2019 | Image: Contributed

This post was originally written for the Reviews Hub

REVIEW: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

There’s little more one can say about a story once deemed unstageable by its author, which when adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens subsequently went on to win seven Olivier and five Tony Awards: this production of Mark Haddon’s, best-selling, award-winning, much-loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has finally arrived in Glasgow and never has a show been more worthy of the superlatives thrown at it.

Christopher, a young man with Asperger Syndrome sets out to solve the murder of his neighbour’s dog. And in the process uncovers some mysteries about his own dead mother while negotiating the vagaries of everyday interactions and human relationships.

In order for Christopher’s internal monologue to be staged, Stephens frames the piece as a play based on Christopher’s writings. The action plays out on Bunny Christie, Finn Ross and Paule Constable’s stunningly inventive set – a black cube of brilliant light, sound, animation and design, where the workings of Christopher’s mind and the locations of the story are beautifully realised. The originality of the design has to be seen in action to be fully appreciated, safe to say it is one of the most mind-blowingly creative stagings you are likely to witness and the detail is seemingly infinite.

The staging is enhanced with ingenious sequences of movement cleverly used to convey emotions and drive the narrative and a hauntingly evocative score by Adrian Sutton.

The most stunning aspect of this production, though, is the central performance of Joshua Jenkins as Christopher. Words can’t begin to do justice to this young actor. Simply he is awe-inspiring and truly deserving of any plaudits that come his way. Haddon’s creation is hard not to love, but Jenkins makes him truly irresistible.

This is a stunning piece of work and perfectly encapsulates the soaring originality of the book. One of the best things you are likely to see on a stage – as close to perfection as you could possibly get.

5 *****

Runs until Saturday 22nd August 2015

Originally published at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time-kings-theatre-glasgow/