Choreographer: Fredrik Rydman
Reviewer: Christopher Owen
Swan Lake Reloaded arrives into London at the stunning setting of the London Coliseum, and proves that such a well known ballet can be reinvented intelligently, and creatively enough to pack this stunning venue to the rafters.
This version of Swan Lake strips the story of any magic or sorcery and transports the tale to present day. With Rothbart in control of the red light district working swans, and dictating their behaviour by dealing to their drug habits, Prince Siegfried’s path to love is littered with evil and wrongdoing. With mainly a street dance inspired repertoire this is a Swan Lake for the Twitter generation.
Utilising the modern day setting, Frederik Rydman has created a wildly engaging ninety minute version of the classic which gains the audiences trust in intriguing fashion. The iconic music by Tchaikovsky is twisted around a modern and contemporary electronic sound to create an exciting backdrop to even more exciting movement. The relatively small company of ten dancers fill this vast stage with such inventive movement, that it can catch you off guard a little – there is one scene where Siegfried’s friends are high and the furniture and fittings come alive, which took a while to get used to, but ultimately you are rewarded with such accurate body movement and eye catching choreography, that you can’t help but applaud.
The scenery is vivid, fluid and highly effective, lending itself perfectly to the current setting of the story. Simple rope light lined frames are used as the club’s windows with the dancing Swans inside and often in this production it is the simplicity of design to highlight the performance which really excels the show. Yet, at the same time, when the pace turns up a notch, the stage comes alive and performers dance and dive in and out of the moving set, leaving you willing for Siegfried to succeed. Then, at the emotional climax of the piece, the stage is stripped back and this cuts the performance back to being all about the characters which works very well.
Although this adaptation has a darker adult edge to it (the producers advise it is not suitable for the under 10s) and this darker edge could have been pushed even further for greater effect, Swan Lake Reloaded is a brilliantly twisted version of a classic. With a rousing soundtrack with just enough familiarity to please the traditionalists, and more than enough urban styling to bring a whole new audience into such an iconic building, this show deserves to sell out every night.