REVIEW – Swan Lake, Sunderland Empire, until October 24

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FEATHERS flew last night as Swan Lake returned to the Sunderland Empire stage.

The Birmingham Royal Ballet production wowed the opening night crowd in an impressive show that included exquisite costumes and sets, and a large company that performed the tricky footwork almost flawlessly, with nearly two dozen swans filling the stage at times.

The beginning of the fourth act was a highlight of the show, as the swans emerged dramatically from under a sea of fog that covered the stage, producing gasps and cheers from the audience.

The male dancers gave energetic performances too as they launched their way powerfully across the stage.

Prince Siegfried’s sidekick Benno, danced by Tzu-Chao Chou, was a show stealer and received raucous applause as he took his bow.

It was all a little more theatrical than you usually expect from a ballet, and excited the full house at the Empire.

The orchestra took just as much a part in the performance as the dancers.

They seemed to play their way through Tchaikovsky’s famous score without hitch, and as the conductor stood to take a bow at the end of the performance, he looked as pleased with himself as the audience sounded.

The performance, though it was a long one at three hours (including intervals), couldn’t be faulted.

The production company pulled out all the stops in their interpretation of one of the most famous ballets of all time, and the audience appreciated the work that had gone into it, with everyone staying in their seats until the final encore had been cheered.

Even a ballet novice could enjoy this one

Monica Turnbull