The Legend returns to Milton Keynes

MATTHEW BOURNE’S SWAN LAKE 

If ever a theatrical experience truly deserved the epithet ‘iconic’, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is it.

Credit: Johan Persson/

Returning to Milton Keynes Theatre with a fresh look for the 21st century – while still retaining all the breathtaking elements of the original production – Matthew Bourne and award-winning designers Lez Brotherston (Set & Costumes) and Paule Constable (Lighting) have created an exciting re-imagining of the classic New Adventures production.

Thrilling, audacious, witty and emotive, this Swan Lake is perhaps still best known for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with a menacing male ensemble, which shattered conventions, turned tradition upside down and took the dance world by storm.

Collecting over thirty international accolades including an Olivier Award in the UK and three Tonys on Broadway, Matthew Bourne’s powerful interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece is a passionate and contemporary Swan Lake for our times.

Matthew Bourne says: “When we first started to do it, we had audiences walking out when the Prince and the Swan started dancing together. We had little girls in tears that it wasn’t performed with the tutus and pointe shoes that they were expecting; some people refused to come and see it at all. But we’re a contemporary dance theatre company, so we had to tell a story through movement, in a different way, and it needed a big idea to make people see it in a different way as well.

For me ultimately it is about someone struggling with who they are. We can all relate to an individual who in the society that they are in can’t be who they really are. I think the piece moves people because it has a message about looking for acceptance; but it also moves people because it’s about loss as well, and it’s about people that you’ve lost.

I feel those themes are very universal and very much things that touch all of us. It’s a very human piece and global – both in its message and in the way that it brings us all together.”

If you haven’t seen the show that, 25 years ago, changed the shape of ballet as we know it, you have an unforgettable treat in store; if you’ve seen it before, the emotional truth, the beauty and the compelling drama of this refreshed production will certainly draw you back.

 Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is at Milton Keynes Theatre from 29th Jan – Sat 2nd Feb

Box Office: 0844 871 7652, online:  ATGTICKETS.COM/MiltonKeynes  Under 25s Offer – £15 per ticket Wed – Thu 7.30pm (Limited Availability)

If your idea of ballet is still ladies in tights and tutus and men in tights without them then you are at least 23 years out of date! It was in 1995 that Matthew Bourne changed the world of dance forever, winning over most of his critics before the interval of that opening night. These swans are aggressive, masculine and utterly believable!

On the opening night at Milton Keynes Theatre the show featured Max Westwell as The Swan, Liam Mower as The Prince, Katrina Lyndon as The Queen and Carrie Willis as The Girlfriend. The audience were treated to this spectacular evening of beautiful music, fabulous sets and a brilliantly talented cast with a dancing prowess matched by their first class acting from start to finish. Matthew Bourne has tweaked this latest production, just enough to freshen it a little but not to upset those that don’t like change of any sort! The long standing ovation at the end of the evening proved just why Matthew Bourne’s wonderful direction fully deserves all the awards this production of the most popular ballet has already received – and those it will undoubtedly receive in the years to come!

Ernie Almond

The Marlowe Society’s Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre from 23-26 January.

Cambridge University’s The Marlowe Society, one of the university’s most acclaimed dramatic societies, returns to Cambridge Arts Theatre after a string of successful productions in recent years including Romeo and Juliet and Edward II.

This year will see The Marlowe Society perform Much Ado about Nothing, one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies. Marrying sharp witticism with edge, Much Ado about Nothing introduces us to two of Shakespeare’s most loquacious lovers: Benedick and Beatrice. A vivid and compelling tale, this romantic comedy explores the transcendent nature of love and its capacity to overcome the obstacles of family, society, honour and deception.

Richard Beecham, who will direct Much Ado About Nothing, has directed productions across Britain and on tour, including productions at The Old Vic, Theatre Royal Bath and the Watford Palace, where he was nominated for Best Director in the Off-West End Theatre Awards for Broken Glass, as well as receiving a nomination for UK Theatre Awards’ Best Production for Dancing at Lughnasa and a nomination for Manchester Theatre Awards’ Best Production for Rose.

The Marlowe Society has launched the careers of some of Britain’s greatest actors including Sir Ian McKellen, Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Derek Jacobi, and continues its tradition of showcasing the best theatrical talent at the university.

Much Ado About Nothing is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until  26th January

Box Office: 01223 503333 or online: www.cambridgeartstheatre.com

Presenter Mike Moore (Black Cat 107) went along on opening night and gave his thoughts about the production:

This production by the very talented Marlowe Society is simply stunning! Avoiding the trappings of a complicated set, occasional props and lighting effects were used very successfully to depict the various scenes. They decided to bring the story right up to date – using, of course, the Bard’s original words. I was gripped from start to finish and it would be unfair to pick out any particular actor as the entire ensemble were as they should be, a close knit-team. The opening of act two with the not so bright members of The Watch was hilarious! Well done to all concerned – a production worth seeing – twice at least!

Black Cat 107 available on fm around St Neots, DAB+ across Cambridge and on TuneIn on the internet.

The Worst Witch at Cambridge Arts Theatre

THE WORST WITCH is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre from Wednesday 6th to Sunday 10th February

Adapted from Jill Murphy’s original much loved children’s books The Worst Witch is an action-packed stage adaptation with songs, music and magic for children aged 7+.

‘Told with wit and ingenuity’ THE GUARDIAN

Mildred Hubble, the good-hearted but accident-prone ordinary girl, begins her first year at Miss Cackles Academy for Witches. As she struggles to fit in, Mildred’s inevitable mayhem upsets her nemesis, fellow student Ethel Hallow and Deputy Headmistress Miss Hardbroom, just as an old enemy returns with a plan for revenge that threatens the academy and the world.

The Worst Witch is adapted for the stage by Emma Reeves (Royal Television Society Award for Best Children’s TV Programme & 2017 British Screenwriters Award for Best Children’s Programme), who adapted the books for the CBBC series and directed by Theresa Heskin (2017 UK Theatre Award for Best Show for Children and Young People)

The Worst Witch is at Cambridge Arts Theatre 6-10 February

Box Office: 01223 503333, email: boxoffice@cambridgeartstheatre.com