Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#Swanlake dance ballet musical drama, Film movie review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * * * 1/2

#Swanlake dance ballet musical drama, Film movie review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * * * 1/2

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#Picks&Piques/SnippetFilmReviews/JohnsonThomas19Sept2014
#BestReleases/FilmsThisWeek/19Sept2014JohnsonThomas

#SwanLake(#PVRLiveDanceBalletNusical) Rating: * * *1/2 A stunning evocation of a classic tale through a variety of dance forms grounded by graceful ballet. #MathewBourne’s stunning Spectacular may not have the emboldened art direction of last week’s #Cinderella but it sure makes up for it with indefatiguable and unimpeachable dance artistry to the tune of Tschaikovsky’s resplendent music. #MathewBourne’s spectacular raises the bar on performance artistry. Stunning use of varied dance forms to convey the dysfunction of a Prince craving for affection. A memorable take on a classic. Unflagging 2 hrs plus of masterly choreography and brilliant dance #AvianMedia #GirishWankhede #PVRLive
English film review    
Johnson Thomas
Film: Swan Lake(PVRLive Dance Ballet )
Cast:Jonathan Olliver, Simon Williams, Michela Meazza,  Kerry Biggin, Jack Jones, 
Director: Mathew Bourne

Rating: *  *  * ½


 
Synopsis: Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake was first staged at Sadler's Wells theatre in London in 1995. The longest running ballet in London's West End and on Broadway, it has been performed in the UK, Los 

Angeles, Europe, Australia, Japan and Israel. The story is based on the Russian romantic ballet Swan Lake, from which it takes the music by Tchaikovsky and the broad outline of the plot. Bourne's rendering is best known for having the traditionally female parts of the swans danced by men. The story of a young prince (Simon Williams), who, bound by the conventions of royal protocol and a distant Cruella de Vil-esque mother (Michela Meazza), is struggling to find love.


He’s set up with a giggly, goofy girl (a delightfully comic Kerry Biggin ) and takes her, escorted by his mother and the Private Secretary VonRothbart (Jack Jones), to the theatre where they watch a ballet that is staged for the actual viewing audience as well as the characters.


Review:
In the prologue, the Prince, as a child, is awakened by a nightmare of a swan. The Prince's mother comes in to comfort him, but because the  situation demanded more intimacy than she can give, leaves. In the next scene we see the Prince being prepared for a day of official duties by chambermaids and valets. , a boat christening, a ribbon cutting, and other official tasks.  He is obviously bored and wanting to win his mother’s affections agrees to keep up appearances by hitching himself to an official girlfriend. The Prince begins to prefer her to his official duties and his mother is not amused. After attending a live ballet performance where the girlfriend shows herself up to be inappropriate, the Prince is persuaded to distance himself from her. The Prince takes to drinking in his private chambers in front of a mirror, in an effort to fantasise about companionship-to his mother's shock. She attacks him verbally for being weak and he in turn gets violent in his demand for her love and affection.

  
The Prince then leaves the palace and goes into the streets and to the Swank Bar, a ’70s-style disco. The dance form changes from classical ballet to jazz and modern dance. The Prince gets into a fight with sailors at the bar, and he is thrown out into the street. He also bears witness to his Girlfriend being paid off by von Rothbart.  Visibly shattered to discover that the only person who appeared to love him is a fake, and desperately heartbroken ,he is all set to kill himself… when he starts re-imaginging swans- this time a group of them flying towards him. It’s the first salvo to his descent into mental turmoil. 

As a matter of practice one ballerina performed both the white(Odette) and black swan(Odile)/the Stranger, roles-the difference here lies in the sex of the dancer. Both the roles were assayed by the same male dancer( Jonathan Olliver) and oh  so mesmerizingly,  making the byplay of affection a little more risqué than traditionally accepted.  While the prince is lured away from his death wish by the white swan, he finds himself attracted to the black one- but Odile’s attractiveness and lewd posturing towards the queen puts him off quite a bit. The stranger is no co-conspirator and his relationship with the Prince is left to the viewers discretion.
The Prince, having lost his mind, is confined to an asylum in a room with a high barred window, and is treated by a doctor and a team of nurses. The Queen visits but is aloof as is characteristic of her. When the Prince crawls into bed and falls into disturbed slumber, the swans circle back into his dreams/nightmares  and he wakes up again searching for them. The lead Swan then slowly emerges from within the Prince's bed, dances with him and assures him of his continued affection. But, the rest of the swans turn on the lead Swan when he makes it clear that he values his relationship with the Prince more than he does them. The two get separated, the swans attack the Prince, the lead Swan leaps in to save him but it was not to last as the other swans rebound and dismembers the lead Swan, who then disappears. Heartbroken and despondent, the Prince wails and collapses onto the bed. The Queen then finds her dead son's body and breaks down in sobs. However, in death the Prince and the Swan are reunited; as shown by a tableau depicting the lead Swan tenderly holding the young Prince in his arms.
It’s a poignant and immensely engaging portrayal is exquisite dance forms. There’s so much variety and spice in the expressive telling that it will warm the cockles of your heart with it’s extended virtuosity and sheer performance artistry. It’s a once in a lifetime spectacle of extraordinary proportions made richer by the craftsmen and performers associated with it. 
Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake radically reinterprets the german myth of Ondine, by focusing more on the character of the man – the Prince. It is the Prince who struggles against repression and hopes for liberty, and who needs love to make him safe. And unlike Ondine, it’s not the mortal, it is the Swan who saves the Prince professing love, betrays him in the form of the Stranger  and finally returns to him. But betrayal has it’s own price and nothing less than death can be it’s just payment!

 Jonathan Ollivier, is astonishingly agile and sprightly,  perfectly conveying every nuance of the ungainly bird. It’s a performance that will haunt your memory for a long time to come. Lez Brotherston’s atmospheric  though spare design of white finger-like branches piercing a bright full moon in the midnight sky, majestic Palace Pillars, A huge bed for the Prince’s private quarters and the frontal theatre setting for the in-film theatre performance makes for an ideal backdrop for the psycho-play of an emotionally barren life filled contrasted with depraved cravings. Mathew Bourne’s complete command over every aspect of the theatrical performance is astounding. Such perfection in line and form calls for several encores. Unfortunately PVRLive allows for only one..Go for it!



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