REVIEW: Swan Lake captivates at Weston-super-Mare’s Playhouse theatre

PUBLISHED: 13:49 11 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:06 11 May 2018

Swan Lake.

Swan Lake.


True love prevailed at Weston-super-Mare’s Playhouse Theatre yesterday (Thursday) when the Vienna Festival Ballet performed Swan Lake.

When you ask someone to name a ballet, most people will say Swan Lake which has one of the most popular love stories, thanks to the captivating music of Tchaikovsky.

I am an avid lover of ballet and have seen my fair share of shows – from Cinderella and Giselle to Red Shoes and The Taming Of The Shrew – but Swan Lake has always been the one I have dreamed of seeing since a young age and I am happy to say I was mot disappointed.

Swan Lake follows the story of a young prince who is ordered by his mother, the Queen, to find a wife.

While out on a hunt, he stumbles across a swan, Odette, who is really a beautiful princess under the spell of an evil sorcerer.

The Vienna Festival Ballet (VFB) brought all the emotions you would expect from such a famous ballet, with a Jester (performed by Ashley Selfe) who brought humour and the dastardly Rothbart (played by David Gutierrez Robles) who loved to be hated.

Each member of the company added to the performance and made it easy for the audience to understand what was happening.

The synchronicity of the trios, duos and company dances were perfect, performing the delicate moves of the swans and the sophistication and seductive moves of the princesses fantastically.

One performance which stood out is possibly the most famous – The Dance Of The Cygnets.

This particular dance is perfectly timed and to one of Tchaikovsky’s best scores – it gave me goosebumps and, when the four dancers took their positionsm my inner child was on the edge of her seat.

But the stand-out performers for me were the principal dancers Rachel Victoria Hernon and Yassaui Mergaliyev who danced as Odette and Prince Siegfried respectively.

The duo danced brilliantly in their multiple pas de deux and really acted out every movement from pointe shoe to fingertip.

Mergaliyev was especially outstanding and just seemed to float in his jumps and leaps, he was weightless.

Hernon got into the performance as the show went on – at first I was slightly sceptical. Her technique was flawless but I wasn’t quite buying her character but I ate my words after the interval.

Hernon’s rendition of Odile, the black swan and Odette’s evil double, was simply phenomenal and then her turn as Odette in the fourth act was beautiful.

The only thing I had against the show, and this is my personal opinion, was the lack of an orchestra – but then I am a strong believer that ballet and live orchestras should go hand in hand.

I personally felt it would have taken Tchaikovsky’s incredibly moving music to the next level and given the audience that extra bit of electricity which comes from hearing live music – where you feel every beat of the drum and every stroke of the violin.

If you missed the VFB’s performance of Swan Lake, don’t worry, they will be at the Watersmeet Theatre in Rickmansworth tonight (Friday).

For more shows from The Playhouse Theatre, in High Street, visit

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