I’ve been enjoying a little staycation for this ‘week between’ Christmas and the start of the New Year. It’s been a week of pottering about at Gidday HQ: literary lie-ins (aka indulgent reading in bed until somewhere around 10am), comfy couch sessions and bouts of cleaning with a few dips into some local delights – a trip to The Phoenix Cinema to see Gone With The Wind (all 4 hours of it – at last) and a fab girly catch up over cocktails & lunch at Skylon – in between.
After a couple of brisk, blue-sky days, the weather is wet and a bit dismal today so amid continued bursts of cleaning up, I’m aiming to tick a few more movies off the I-haven’t-seen-it-yet list with Gentlemen Prefer Blondes already under my belt this morning.
Speaking of ticking things off my list, I want to tell you about my Boxing Day. You see, I went to Sadler’s Wells to see Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake as a Christmas present to myself. Yes peeps, Happy Christmas to me.
I first saw Matthew Bourne‘s work in July last year. Play Without Words left me thrilled and awestruck and his take on Sleeping Beauty was clever and fun and brilliant. His Swan Lake, which premiered in 1995 with an all-male ‘swan ensemble’, has something of a reputation. So even though my previous experiences of Swan Lake had left me bored and wondering what the point was, I took my seat just before 2.30pm feeling quite excited.
The first familiar notes of Tchaikovsky’s score swelled from the orchestra pit soon after, the curtain rose and I was riveted.
It was theatrical and dramatic and witty, filled with light and shadow and the most extraordinary dancing I’ve ever seen. And for the first time I really felt the story. It was visceral – I could feel the fear and liberation in the prince, the reined-in majesty of his mother and the sycophantic expectation of his subjects. But most of all I felt the magnetism and menace of the swans. Their flapping fury, their drooping necks and piercing eyes, the muscular ebb and flow of sweeping, swooping limbs that were, it seemed, inseparable from the music.
It was an amazing show and for me, it was if Tchaikovsky’s powerful score had finally met its match in the powerful movement on the stage. I felt incredibly emotional and as the cast took their final curtain call, I was on my feet applauding furiously.
Thinking back, I can still feel the moment that the final note evaporated into the air and the curtain fell. The slight prickling of my skin, the full feeling welling in my chest and the profound sense of being touched by something extraordinary.