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Scottish Ballet Swan Lake at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh Review

SBSwanLakeScottish Ballet:
Swan Lake
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

25-28 May 2016


Reviewed by Deborah Mackenzie

The Festival Theatre in Edinburgh aims to be accessible for all, with lifts and seating with companion for those who require it. Just be sure to mention your needs when booking. The staff go over and above their duties to ensure that you have a wonderful time.

The venue offers food and drink; the Festival Café offers a wide variety of pre-theatre meals or snacks. The café is bright, comfortable and not over crowded even when busy. Several bar areas throughout the venue offer a wide selection of drinks. Prices are reasonable and although busy during interval, there is a pre-order service where you can just collect your drink, cutting down waiting times and the dreaded queue!

This was my introduction to the art of ballet on stage. I went with an open mind and was blown away with the story and performance of the dancers. It was like watching a real life fairy tale unfold before my eyes. The audience was appreciative and were swept into the story only applauding at appropriate times.

Swan Lake by Scottish Ballet was choreographed by David Dawson, who took it into the next generation with his fresh look at Swan Lake. The traditional costumes of tutu were nowhere to be seen, but rather in a simple and minimal costume that lent to seeing the stunning lines of the dancers. He worked with the music score to enhance the emotions and story; making it a memorable event.

Swan Lake is a story of a coming of age man, Siegfried, who felt he did not fit into society and his best friend, Benno, tries to encourage him into having fun like everyone else. Benno continues to try and include Siegfried, but he chose to go in search of his own solitude.

One night when he sees a beautiful woman by the lake, who is the Swan Queen Odette. Siegfried is captivated by her, as is she by him. They fall in love and Odette gives Siegfried a precious stone, symbolising her heart.

Benno holds a formal party for Siegfried and invites some potential love matches for him. Siegfried politely dances with his guests, but he excited to tell Benno that he has found his soul mate. He shows Benno the precious stone and explains his promise he made to Odette.

During the party a group of uninvited guests arrive lead by a beautiful woman, Odile. She looks almost identical to Odette, and Siegfried believes that it is her. Siegfried dances through the night with Odile and in the climax of the evening he declares his love and offers her the precious stone. At this point Odile take the stone triumphantly and leaves the party. Only then does Siegfried realise that he has been tricked and has betrayed Odette.

Siegfried returns to the lake and sees the swans on the lake and searches for Odette. She senses his distress but is unaware of his betrayal. Siegfried is tormented and confesses his betrayal, begging for her forgiveness.  Odette tells him that she cannot as the trust between them has gone.  She embraces him and leaves.

The dancers were amazing, the way that they glided across the floor in fluid motion as you would expect a swan to do on water. The grace of the dancers both male and female with the music enhanced the emotions throughout the scenes. I got quite emotional in the scene where they fell in love, it was breath-taking as they danced together. The music spoke to me during the different scenes as the tempo and intensity changed during the heightened emotional scenes of falling in love, deceit, betrayal and lost love. I was sitting on the edge of my seat watching each and every moment. So much so, I couldn’t believe how quick the time vanished and the final curtain came down. I truly had a rollercoaster ride of emotions throughout the performance, taken by the beauty of dance, the music and the storyline.

Rating: 5/5 thumbs_up

Tickets cost from £14.50 to £43.50 (booking fees may apply).

Scottish Ballet Swan Lake is at the Festival Theatre in  Edinburgh until 28 May 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0131 529 6000.

Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9FT | 0131 529 6000


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