August 2 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 13°C

Five-day forecast

Little to love in Peter Schaufuss’s flawed reinvention of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

» Reinventing classic ballet isn’t easy. The majority of your audience, particularly at a venue like the Coliseum, will be disappointed by anything that strays too far from the beaten path.

Unfortunately, there is little to love in Peter Schaufuss’s re-working of Swan Lake, even for the most open-minded ballet fan.

The first thing you notice is the absence of the orchestra. Tchaikovsky’s classic score still sounds good as a recorded track but it provides none of the depth and intensity of a live production.

The lighting also fails to impress. The front of the stage is dark while a rectangle of light in the middle serves to illuminate the dancers. Whenever they stray too far forward, they almost disappear into the darkness.

All of this would matter less if the dancing cut the mustard. Individually, many of the dancers are not short of talent, as was apparent during a number of pleasing solos in the marginally better second act. But all too often, the choreography and execution were weak, and occasionally wince-inducing.

At one point in the second act the black swan appears to simulate oral sex on Siegfried. While this was perhaps a little inappropriate given the audience demographic, the complete lack of sensuality and emotion throughout the performance makes it completely unforgivable. Indeed, this cringe-worthy stunt perfectly underlines just how much of a disconnect lies between the audience and Peter Schaufuss’s ill-judged production.

Based on this performance, Londoner’s should hold out for forthcoming productions by the English National Ballet at the Coliseum in August or the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House in October. Those with a taste for an alternative take on Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece should hang on for another revival of Matthew Bourne’s startling production at Sadler’s Wells.

* Peter Schaufuss Ballet: Swan Lake was at the Coliseum, WC2

Share this article

0 comments

   Local advertisers

More Theatre articles

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Islington Gazette on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Islington businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Islington Gazette, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE

Around the Web See all