Thursday, 31 January 2019

Review: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake



Well it was a privilege to see so much talent on the stage of Milton Keynes theatre. 

Matthew Bourne retells the story of Swan Lake to a modern audience in his own inimitable style. The show is actually 25 years old and originally shocked audiences with the decision to replace the all-female ballet dancers with a male ensemble. What a masterpiece! In this performance we see everything from hissing swans to burlesque dancers.

Swan Lake tells the story of a repressed man striving for love from his mother and ultimately finding his true love but it is of course doomed to end tragically as in all great love stories.

The score of Tchaikovsky has never been more beautifully presented than in this show. The show has been given a fresh makeover with new sets, costumes and lighting as well as tweaks to the powerful choreography. It was good to see Matthew Bourne in the audience too; a man who has turned the dance world upside down. As he says "I trust that this swan will continue to fly, inspire and lift up audiences for many years to come".

Swan Lake is on at MK Theatre until Saturday 2nd February. Tickets from www.atgtickets.com/Miltonkeynes or telephone 0844 871 7652 (booking fee applies)  


Thursday, 13 December 2018

Robin Hood – Milton Keynes Theatre


You simply can’t have Christmas time without panto! Us Brits do love the panto and the sillier the better. But we also love a good show with fantastic costumes, acting, music and dancing. Qdos Entertainment’s Robin Hood ticked all the boxes and more: A well-known Bafta-winning TV star? Check. Leads and an ensemble of comedy, TV and voice-over actors? Check. A seasoned West End star? Check. A mighty magician? Check. A group of international comedy acrobats known as The Acromaniacs? Check! A team of young talented dancers from Dancebox Studios? Check!

We all know the story of Robin Hood, with his team of merry men, robbing from the rich to give to the poor, the evil Sheriff of Nottingham getting in their way and of course the lovely Maid Marion whom Robin is keen to woo. Throw in some clowning around, impressive magic tricks, a spirit of Sherwood, a rather scary 3D trip through the haunted forest, crazy acrobatics, dazzling costumes and stage sets then you’ve got yourself a winning pantomime.

The show is fantastic fun for all the family with endless cheers, boos and screams from the children in the audience and plenty of cheeky laughs from the adults as the grown-up jokes and innuendos were well placed and consistent throughout the show. Of course, you must expect plenty of news, politics and current affairs creeping their way into the show too so prepare for insults, poking fun and outrageous laughter – we love it! Music and songs included some from The Greatest Showman and the classic annual Milton Keynes Panto rendition of Twelve Days of Christmas – watch out for those five toilet rolls kids!!

Starring cheeky and charismatic Shane Ritchie as Robin Hood, Peter Piper as Friar Tuck, Gina Murray as the Spirit of Sherwood, Pete Gallagher as the charming and dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham, Jamie Kenna as Little John, Phil Hitchcock as Merlin the Magician and the almighty comedy jumping Acromaniacs as the Merry Men.

For tickets, head to www.atgtickets.com, the panto is running until 13th January. Be quick, performances are selling out fast!

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Glyndebourne Tour 2018 – La Traviata




Yesterday evening, we had the pleasure of attending Glyndebourne’s La Traviata. Front row seats too and so we had a wonderful time watching the orchestra in the pit as well as the performers on stage. This opera by Guiseppe Verdi is the most frequently performed opera in the world. It has everything it needs to make it so successful and to keep fans coming back for more. With a classic, tragic love story, beautiful musical scores and of course the simple yet stunning stage and costumes, it seems it is as loved today as it was when it first appeared in London in 1856. To top it off, an excellent performance by the established Glyndebourne Tour, celebrating their golden anniversary this year.

I can’t pretend to be an opera connoisseur, however I can certainly say I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening and there was a fabulous round of applause from the audience with some whistles for Mané! The role of Violetta was performed by Mané Galoyan who is clearly an established soprano giving a faultless performance that is worthy of any tragic heroine in the opera. She was complimented perfectly by Luis Gomes, performing Alfredo and together they whisked us off to the charmingly romantic City of Light, Paris alongside the rest of the cast and chorus.

Like all operas, the story of La Traviata is quite simple but resonates with audiences across the world and indeed, has done so throughout the eras. With youth, beauty, tragedy, conflict, desperation, love, frolicking, betrayal and death what else do we need? The young, social courtesan Violetta is, eventually, convinced to accept Alfredo’s love. They move in together before his father asks Violetta to leave him so that Alfredo can fulfil his family duties back home. After she leaves, Alfredo becomes mad and jealous, then humiliates her at a soirée in front of their friends. The final Act sees Violetta terminally ill with only hours to live. Alfredo arrives begging her forgiveness and the lovers dream of resuming their life together but fate intervenes.

This opera has plenty of drama entwined with the melodies and touches on subjects that many of us can relate to including living on your own terms, falling in (or out) of love, naivety and death.


You can still catch Glyndebourne this week at Milton Keynes theatre performing Cendrillon tonight and La Traviata again on Friday, for tickets head to www.atgtickets.com