Monday, October 3, 2022

Into the Blue II

Photography | Brian Rope

Into the Blue II | Andrea Bryant, Kim Sinclair, Carolyn Pettigrew, Kiera Hudson, Carolyn Young, Linda Sukamta, Chris Byrnes, Mat Hughes, Ellie Young, Peter McDonald, Hilary Warren, Rebecca Murray, Jean Burke, Susan Baran, Jenny Dettrick, Virginia Walsh, Kaye Dixon & Wendy Currie

Sutton Village Gallery | 8 September - 9 October

Into the Blue II is the second annual group exhibition at Sutton Village Gallery showcasing the historic Cyanotype print and its application in contemporary art. 

Eighteen artists showcase a variety of cyanotype print methods using both original and ‘new’ cyanotype formulae, including prints on fabric, wet cyanotypes, photograms, contact prints from both large format film negatives and digital negatives, toned prints, and incorporated in multi-media applications.

Cyanotypes are one of the oldest photographic printing processes in the history of photography. The distinctive original feature of the prints is their cyan blue colour, resulting from exposure to ultraviolet light. But if you go to this exhibition expecting all the prints to be purely that colour, then you are in for a surprise. P McDonald’s Rocks Mornington Peninsula is a classic example. It is not cyan blue; it is a sepia colour.


Rocks Mornington Peninsula © P McDonald

If you expect all the works to have uneven edges revealing where the chemical solution was applied, again you will be surprised. So too if you expect all the works to be on fabrics or watercolour papers and not framed.

Melbourne-based photographer Mat Hughes works primarily with large format view cameras. Wet scans from selected negatives are meticulously made to create quality digital negatives from which to contact print. He finds light in dark shadows and turns the normal into sublime in his unique, beautiful and delicate printed cyanotypes. His Woodys Lake is a glorious example, although again not cyan blue.


Woodys Lake © Mat Hughes

Another Melbourne-based artist, Keira Hudson, specialises in different photographic processes, often interweaving different mediums together. During 2022, working with an artificial intelligence (AI) program, Hudson input different text prompts then altered the resulting images physically and digitally to create her cyanotypes on fabric.

Hudson’s use of AI raises interesting questions – many photographers currently are debating whether doing so means the outcome is no longer photography. More importantly, Getty Images is now refusing to accept submissions created using AI generative models because of concerns regarding copyright and plagiarism. Of Hudson’s artworks here, I most enjoyed Chalkboard. I have no idea how it was created, but it certainly says cyanotype to me, and I like it.


Chalkboard, 2022 © Keira Hudson

In Linda Sukamta’s cyanotype prints, the use of various artistic or communicative media, design and image layering applications are less habitually used techniques characteristic of her practice. Right Where I Belong is a fine example. Primarily in the traditional cyan blue, but also including a nearly opposite orange-red colour, it features botany.


Right Where I Belong © Linda Sukamta

Carolyn Young is a visual artist based in the Canberra region. Her artworks engage in ideas around land care, relationship to place, and between culture and nature. The excellent piece included here is a portrait of Harriet Scott (a naturalist in the mid-late 1880s) and chenuala heliaspis (a type of local moth thought to feed on wattle, eucalypts & pine).


Harriet Scott and Chenuala Heliaspis © Carolyn Young

Kaye Dixon is displaying some wonderfully imaginative works, reminiscent of illustrations in children’s or fantasy books. Of them, Draco the Dragon is the standout for me.


Draco the Dragon (from the bone woman series) © Kaye Dixon

Rebecca Murray is a Victoria-based artist engaging in contemporary and historical photographic processes. Works which explore time, place, belonging and un-belonging feature in this exhibition.

I did find myself wondering about the use of matting and frames resulting in the covering up of the traditional “messy” edges which have always been part of cyanotypes. Perhaps the artists primarily do so in order to create attractive pieces for potential purchasers to display on their home walls?

Each artist in the exhibition has contributed works well worth viewing – and a drive to Sutton Village to visit this gallery (and the nearby bakery) is a pleasing outing at any time.

This review was first published by The Canberra Times online here and at page 43 of their print version of 3/10/22. It is also available on the author's blog here.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Whitefella Yella Tree

 

Whitefella Yella Tree by Dylan Van Den Berg.  Griffin Theatre Company (Sydney) at Canberra Theatre Centre, Courtyard Studio, September 28 – October 1 2022.

Reviewed by Frank McKone
October 1

The combination of Dylan Van Den Berg’s scriptwriting, the lighting by Kelsey Lee and Katie Sfetkidis, and especially the extraordinary sound track by Steve Toulmin has produced the most original piece of theatre that I can recall.  The acting of the two characters, Ty and Neddy, is also a tour de force making enormous demands on Callan Purcell and Guy Simon in maintaining a constant broken-up flow of tiny changes through to massive emotions in their intense relationship over 90 minutes.

From a purely theatrical point of view, of the three works by Dylan Van Den Berg that I have seen – Milk, Ngadjung, and now Whitefella Yella Tree – this is the most successful.  Because, as Griffin Theatre points out, there is a poetic element in his writing which makes any storyline quite mysterious – less so in Milk, too much so in Ngadjung, and just so in Whitefella Yella Tree.  The meaning of the title becomes more apparent each time Ty and Neddy meet again for an “exchange”.

Van Den Berg identifies as Indigenous, linking his family history back to ‘Iutruwita’ – Van Diemen’s Land / Tasmania – and I see a parallel in Van Den Berg’s method with traditional Aboriginal art.  Embedded in the abstract paintings are symbols which, for the people with the appropriate knowledge, tell stories of events and place which remain a mystery to an outsider like me.  The art is attractive, impressive in its own right, which is why our home has works on display (from Warmun and Warlpiri traditions), but I will never know the full meaning of the story of the two women, Napanganka and Napangardi and their relationship with the shape-shifter man Jakamarra, behind Joanne Nangala’s Bush Banana Dreaming ‘yuparli tjukurrpa’ (not reproduced here, since I have not sought appropriate permission).

The beginning of Whitefella Yella Tree is theatrically attractive – humorous even though mysterious – but bit by bit Van Den Berg reveals the story as we – watching, responding, and thinking – put together a story of Ty from the River People, wanting to keep his people true to their law, meeting on the boundary with Neddy from the Mountain People, who hopes his people can survive by making himself useful to the British invaders – to the point of wearing the costume of the Red Coats.  Though the two men find they love each other intensely, sexually, Ty is left without the possibility of fulfilling his dream.  I wonder if, in his search for rediscovering his personal cultural history, Ty represents Dylan Van Den Berg himself.

Of course, I am privy to the British side of this sorry story, being an unwitting invader myself when brought to Australia by my ten-pound Pom parents in the 1950s under the government’s immigration scheme.  The details of the Iutruwita / Tasmania story, of the Mountain People and the River People, are now exposed in The Australian Wars, Part 2 on SBS and NITV and On Demand, Wednesday September 28, 2022 – ironically the opening night of the run of Whitefella Yella Tree in Canberra.

The essential symbolic image in the play, as if in a traditional painting, is the white invaders’ lemon tree – the sweet-looking fruit of which is both bitter and sour.  I trust that Whitefella Yella Tree will take its rightful place in the canon of Indigenous theatre, telling its story in a new, highly original way to many more audiences in Australia and in the wider world.

Simon Guy and Callan Purcell
in Whitefella Yella Tree by Dylan Van Den Berg
Griffin Theatre Company, 2022
Photo: Dayvis Hayne




 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

SAVAGE - Australian Dance Theatre



Conceived, Choreographed and Directed by Daniel Riley for Australian Dance Theatre.

Canberra Theatre 29th and 30th September, 2022. 

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

This new work by Daniel Riley has attracted considerable interest in Canberra dance circles.

Riley started his dance career with Quantum Leap, now QL2 Dance, before forging a significant career as a dancer and choreographer with Bangarra Dance. Riley returns regularly to Canberra to hone his choreographic skills creating works on QL2 Dance.

As his first major work for Australian Dance Theatre in Adelaide, a company created in 1965 by his long-time mentor, Elizabeth Cameron Dalman, and for which he is now Artistic Director, “Savage” is an important indicator of the direction in which he will take this company.

Riley has an agenda. As an indigenous choreographer, He feels compelled to use his current position to address issues concerning First Nations people and in a recent interview he is quoted as saying “I am the first First Nations person to be a mainstream director of a dance company, so I have the platform to ask those questions and I feel enabled by it”. 

In his program notes for “Savage” Riley says “I was interested in exploring the clash between power and identity, and exposing how our hearts and minds have been captured in the battle of the Australian imagination. Heroes and foes on the wrong side of history; details of events often remembered to suit the victors...I want this work to encourage deeper thinking and reflection on the systems and voices who coerce our history to suit a singular vision of our country”.

How these ambitions are realised in this contemporary dance work is both fascinating and confronting.

Designer Dean Cross has created an imposing setting consisting primarily of two huge fence-like structures which can be moved around the stage during the performance by the dancers. When the audience enter the theatre these structures a covered by a drab plastic drape. 25 fluorescent lights bathe the stage in a harsh white light. On the floor in front of the stage is arranged a row of stark white plastic chairs.

To the persistent throb of James Howard’s soundscape, a young woman takes the stage. She strolls then sits, deep in contemplation. As the houselights dim, the audience is bathed in hot orange light, which eventually fade to black-out, setting the mood for what is to follow.

As the stage-lights come up more white chairs are revealed, and these chairs become a constant as the work progresses. They’re thrown angrily around the stage, moved in rows by the fences, stacked around the dancers to confine them.

Riley has gathered six interesting dancer who form the core of ADT, Sebastian Geilings, Brianna Kell, Zachary Lopez, Jada Narkle, Darci O’Rourke and Joe Wazniak. For the Canberra performances these dancers were joined by eight dancers from QL2; Arshiya Abhishree, Penny Moore, Akira Byrne, Mia Canton, Jahna Lugnan, Magnus Meagher, Danny Riley, Cassidy Thomson, and Julia Villaflor. Riley himself also performed.




The work has an epic quality greatly enhanced by Matthew Adey’s striking lighting design and the grating soundscape created by Jason Howard. Ingenious use of the huge fence-like structures to create corridors and barriers, and the constant re-arrangement of the white chairs created an endless flow of striking stage pictures.

Riley’s choreography is inventive and beautifully performed by his dancers costumed by Cross in individual urban-punk costumes. However much of the symbolism was difficult to grasp, particularly the inclusion of three white yeti-like figures.

While interesting to watch, given the ambitions expressed, much of the enjoyment of the work was diluted by trying to work out what the various episodes represented. However, given that one of the ambitions for the work was to encourage deeper thinking, it certainly worked on that level for this viewer.

                   

                                             Images by Sam Roberts        



                       This review first published in CANBERRA CITY NEWS on 30.09.22

The Comedy of Errors

 

 

The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare.  Bell Shakespeare on tour at Canberra Theatre Centre, The Playhouse September 30 – October 8, 2022.

Reviewed by Frank McKone
September 30

If you wonder how Shakespeare can still be relevant after more than 400 years, see The Comedy of Errors – particularly this Bell Shakespeare production – in which fake news takes on a terrifying ironic twist.  Every character only tells the truth and reaches reasonable conclusions.  The social fabric is almost torn apart – which we find funny to watch – and only by chance is life sewn back together harmoniously in a final powerful scene full of tears of relief and hope for humanity.

As Bell Shakespeare write on their blog: “Family members are repeatedly mistaken for one another, prompting claims of betrayal, declarations of love, accusations of lunacy, and allegations of theft. By dawn, a number of characters face prison (or worse) before a local nun puts two and two (and two) together, to reveal who is who and reunite the family members.”  But there’s an awful contrast, despite the upbeat mood of the 1970’s dance music and songs, with today’s World Wide Web ‘family’ where people deliberately do not tell the truth and encourage others to believe unreasonable conclusions.  The chances are against that kind of final scene in about 2050.  

Director Janine Watson explains in her note From the Director how her own experiences made her read Shakespeare’s play “with fresh eyes.  Whilst undoubtedly hugely funny, at its heart it is about people searching for each other and the threat to their identities and lives as they do so…. So, I give you our mystical discotheque 1970’s-inspired Island of Ephesus….A world where I believe no coincidence is impossible.  A world full of laughter, tears, and undying love.”

Taking us with her into this wonderful world is simply great theatre.  But as the photo gallery shows, it’s quite unlike the world of Shakespeare’s first production in 1594.
https://www.bellshakespeare.com.au/2022-the-comedy-of-errors-photo-gallery  ]

The Comedy of Errors cast 2022
Bell Shakespeare, photo by Brett Boardman

 
The heart of the success of this performance is the sense of humour leaping off the stage for our enjoyment, built in to the intelligent self-awareness in the actors – who often speak directly and personally to us in the audience (and even one character explaining at one point to another that this is what they are supposed to do).  The amazingly choreographed tremendously athletic physicality of the action, in dialogue, song and dance – on the moveable staircases and all over the stage floor – makes the comedy exciting.  Bookended by the ‘straight’ beginning presaging the execution of the Syracusan who has unwittingly broken the law of Ephesus just by turning up to search for his long-lost twin sons and wife, and the seemingly impossible coincidence of finding them and receiving natural justice from the Duke in the end, the intervening comedy becomes a telling commentary on our belief that we understand what is true and what is not.

The first recorded performance of The Comedy of Errors was on 28 December 1594, at the Feast of the Holy Innocents, in the hall of Gray's Inn in Holborn as part of the Christmas festivities.

The Royal Shakespeare Company records [  https://www.rsc.org.uk/the-comedy-of-errors/dates-and-sources ]  that “Scholars are divided about the play's date of composition. Some argue that it was written in the very early 1590s but others maintain that 1594 is the more likely date and that it was, perhaps, expressly written for this [first] performance before a legal audience at the end of that year”.

In other words, the question – and the questioning of – evidence, in law and by extension in life, is the central concern in this 428-year-old drama.  This is a ‘knowing’ comedy.  Every actor on stage clearly understood this in the almost stand-up way they played the comedy – and then showed in perhaps a Hannah Gadsby way the truth of our human need for warm understanding in that empathetic final scene.
[ https://hannahgadsby.com.au/#shows Body of Work ]

I thank Janine Watson and her Creatives team for conceptualising this production of The Comedy of Errors.  I remain in awe of the magnificent Cast and Crew who made it all work so well on the night.



 

Un/known

Photography | Brian Rope

Un/known | Susan Bell, Emily Blenkin, Fiona Bowring, Andrea Bryant, Saini Copp, Sophia Coombs, Annette Fischer, Lucy Found, Saskia Haalebos, Kristian Herman, Lia Kemmis, Eunie Kim, Kathy Leo, Louise Maurer, Kleber Osorio, Margaret Stapper, Beata Tworek, Sarah Vandermar

Photo Access | 15 SEPTEMBER - 8 OCTOBER 2022

Featuring works created during PhotoAccess’ Concept to Exhibition 2022 workshop, Un/known brings together a variety of artists examining, confronting and sharing personal stories. During nine months, mentored by 2021 National Photographic Portrait Prize finalist Marzena Wasikowska, the displaying artists went beyond their settled methods of working. Bringing varying levels of skill and past practice to the workshop, the artists have each advanced their photovoice and produced new work, expressing their one-of-a-kind approaches to image-making. 

The resultant exhibition is substantial and diverse. Sixty-three works, including two video pieces and a photobook, take quite some time to explore properly. And it is impossible to properly do justice to all eighteen artists and their works here.

The catalogue speaks of two images by Kleber Osorio showing evidence of a style familiar to him, and of a new approach emerging. His four new works effectively use water and reflections in that new approach. 

Louise Maurer shows two fine prints layering elements of multiple images to create new works. Both can fairly be described as compilations of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations - as encountered in dreams.

Sophia Coombs has four delightful prints exploring femininity through connection to the ocean. The woman in the sea is, of course, a female figure in an ocean. That sea is also a woman “because she is deep and wild.”


Sophia Coombs - The woman in the sea

Margaret Stapper has successfully explored whether photography can be therapeutic and enable reconnection with the past. She has made excellent composites inserting old photos of herself into new images. The facial expressions seen in the work In Conversation tell a wonderful story.


Margaret Stapper - In Conversation, 2022, composite photograph

Beata Tworek has used gold powder and thread to enhance scars such that “shameful” body imperfections have become valuable symbols.

Eunie Kim contributes some delightful works using silver-gelatin liquid emulsion and cyanotype print on acrylic paper.

Fiona Bowring’s video and photobook of women working in Fyshwick contains great imagery and warrant taking the necessary time to explore both thoroughly. Ruth at the sink is just one example of these workers.


Fiona Bowring, Ruth at the sink, 2022, digital photograph

Andrea Bryant’s three giclee prints, including Flux 2, are simply superb.


Andrea Bryant, Flux 2, 2022

Kathryn Leo is showing two posters seeking, through images and words, to reveal something of life’s journey. Smooth and Rough is the more successful of them.


Kathryn Leo, Smooth and Rough, 2022

Adam Luckhurst is showing a body of work seeking to highlight the perilous climate circumstances that we are in. I needed to read his words, including a poem Destination, in the catalogue before his message was clear to me. 

Annette Fisher gives us The Pregnant Tree, a delightful installation comprising a balls of crushed photos hanging on a dead branch. The images are of the ruins and remains following a building annihilation. Her suggestion that they might be preparing for a new life is allegorical.


The Pregnant Tree (image supplied)

Lia Kemmis also has contributed a wonderful installation. Placed in a corner of the gallery, it is in effect the corner of a room in a home. There is a “wall-hanging”, a framed canvas on a wall, a table covered with a satin cloth featuring a digital print, and a chair with another satin cloth image embellished with fake fur on which are containers of numerous small prints. The only thing missing is a second chair on which visitors might sit to enjoy the corner.

Emily Blenkin has based the titles of her works on that old cliché “a picture tells a thousand words”. In fact, each work comprises three separate images, so I found myself asking how many words were actually told by the individual pictures?

The artists not mentioned here have also each made contributions which enhance  the exhibition.

This review was first published on 27.09.22 by The Canberra Times online here and on page 10 of Panorama in their print paper on 1.10.22. It is also available on the author's blog here

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS



Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Janine Watson

Bell Shakespeare

The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre to 8 October

 

 Reviewed by Len Power

 

There’s a great sense of fun about Bell Shakespeare’s ‘The Comedy of Errors’ right after the prologue, which makes you think it’s going to be a tragedy.  This 1970s disco-type production of Shakespeare’s shortest play is delightful.

An old man, Egeon, laments the loss of his two sets of twins and their twin servants.  Separately they turn up in Ephesus on the same day and chaos reigns as various members of the town begin to doubt their sanity when they encounter the different twins.  All is sorted out, of course, and everyone is reunited, giving us a happy ending.

It has been given a production of great colour, John Travolta-type white suits and throbbing disco music.  The palm trees and neon give it a holiday feel.  It has been cleverly designed by Hugh O’Connor.  In keeping with the era, the cast cavort through the play mostly with carefree ease but just like the era, there are rumblings of trouble.


 The ensemble cast play their roles well.  The fashionable gender-swapping doesn’t matter here and gives the play a few more laughs with Luciana becoming a rather campish Luciano, played by Joseph ‘Wunujaka’ Althouse..  There is good work from the two sets of twins.  Skyler Ellis has more to do than Felix Jozeps as the two Antipholus twins and Julia Billington and Ella Price really register as the two non-binary Dromios.

Director, Janine Watson, deftly keeps the fun and story moving swiftly.  This high energy production is true to its source and there is a surprising depth to the characters.

 At the end, it is quite touching when we see the pain that the old man has gone through when he reunites with his wife and children.  It might be a carefree era, but not everyone has been happy.

This is a fun farce, made even more palatable by the disco-ish setting.  If you are unfamiliar with the play, you would benefit from reading the synopsis before it starts so that you have the characters clearly in mind.  Bell Shakespeare, with productions such as this, seems to think you know the play as well as they do.

Anyway, this production is a lot of fun.  They even have lots of balloons!

 

Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at https://justpowerwriting.blogspot.com/.

  

Monday, September 26, 2022

"SWAN LAKE" - Royal Czech Ballet

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Cristina Terentiev and Nikolay Nazarkevich in "Swan Lake"

                       Royal Czech Ballet - Canberra Theatre 18th – 20th September. 2022. 

                    Opening night performance on 18th September reviewed by Bill Stephens.



 Do you ever wonder why audiences flock to theatre’s to see yet another production of “Swan Lake”? Many of course are experiencing the ballet for the first time. Others perhaps want to refresh a treasured memory, or be transported into a fantasy world of flawless beauty. To many “Swan Lake” above all, means ballet. Often it’s the only ballet they’ll ever see live. 

Perhaps the only ballet they want to see live. The latest production of “Swan Lake” to visit the Canberra Theatre was presented by the Royal Czech Ballet, making its first visit to Australia. Founded in 2008 by Andrey Scharaev, the core of the Royal Czech Ballet are dancers born and trained in Moldova, but augmented by guest soloists from around the world. 

The company boasts a repertoire which includes in addition to “Swan Lake”, “The Nutcracker”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Don Quixote” and “Giselle”, but for its first Australian tour the company is presenting only its production of “Swan Lake”, starring Moldova born ballerina, Cristina Terentiev, dancing the dual roles of Odette/Odile. 

 A surprisingly lavish production given its extensive touring program, with choreography based on the familiar 1895 Petipa/ Ivanov revival choreography for the Imperial Ballet in the Marinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, this production is notable for its lovely settings featuring gorgeous painted backcloths complimented by excellent lighting and sound, elegant costumes and immaculately groomed dancers. And while the dancing could hardly be described as inspired, it was beautifully performed by both soloists and ensemble with careful attention to detail and mood.

 
Nikolay Nazarkevich (Price Siegfried) - Seiyu Ogasawara (Court Jester)


The ballet commences with a party scene in front of the royal palace to celebrate the twenty-first birthday of Prince Siegfried (Nikolay Nazarkevich). During the festivities, Siegfried’s mother (Maria Mihailova) presents him with a crossbow, and advises him that it is time for him to marry.

To that end she has arranged a ball for the very next evening and invited several eligible princesses from among which she expects Siegfried to choose his future wife. 

Understandably nonplussed by his mother’s demands Siegfried takes his crossbow and wanders off into the forest. When he reaches the lake, he finds himself surrounded by a flock of swans. As he takes aim with his crossbow, their leader transforms into a beautiful woman, Odette (Cristina Terentiev).

 
Nikolay Nazarkevich (Prince Siegfried) - Cristina Terentiev (Odette)


Siegfried is immediately smitten with Odette, but she tells him that a sorcerer, Baron Von Rothbart, (Vladimir Statni) has cast a spell on her which can only be broken by a man promising his love and remaining faithful to her. Of course Siegfried immediately promises his eternal love. 

 At the ball the following night Siegfried is unresponsive to any of the princesses his mother has chosen, but cheers up considerably when the Baron arrives with the feisty Odile on his arm. Perhaps because she is also danced by Cristina Terentiev, Siegfried understandably mistakes her for Odette.

 
Nikolay Nazarkevich (Prince Siegfried) - Cristina Terentiev (Odile)


Sadly for Siegfried he doesn’t see Odette trying to attract his attention at the window, and after some energetic pas de deux with Odile he asks her to marry him. Revealing her deception, Odile laughs in his face and sweeps out of the ball with the Baron. 

But all is not lost for in this version when Siegfried returns to the lake to try to explain his predicament to Odette. When Baron Von Rothbart interferes, Siegfried and the Baron resort to fisticuffs. Siegfried lands a killer- punch on the baron who succumbs; thereby breaking the spell, and paving the way for Siegfried and Odette to live happily ever after.

 
Cristina Terentiev as "Odette) in "Swan Lake"


Through-out the story-telling is clear and the dancing accomplished, especially from Cristina Terentiev, a superb ballerina who offers two clearly delineated characterisations as Odette and Odile. Soft, elegant and other-worldly as Odile; thrillingly virtuosic as Odile; Terentiev commands the stage. Every inch the Prima Ballerina, she performs every step and gesture of the choreography with studied precision, constantly exhibiting a beautiful line, and concluding her solos with remarkable bows which are a masterclass of their own.

Terentiev is given excellent support by Nikolay Nazarkevich, himself a tall, elegant dancer as well as a considerate partner. Japanese-born, Seiyu Ogasawara, as the Court Jester, provides the razzle dazzle, thrilling with the sheer energy and virtuosity of his dancing, while Vladimir Statni, as the mysterious Baron Von Rothbart, provides a strong dramatic presence as he prowls the stage in his spectacular scarlet- lined black cape. 

Other soloists impressed in the various specialty dances particularly in the opening party scene and the ballroom scene. But it was the white scenes on the lake, beautifully performed by the 18 beautifully costumed and immaculately groomed swans, which drew audible murmurs of approval from the clearly impressed capacity audience on the first night.

Leaving little doubt that while ever companies continue to mount productions of “Swan Lake” as respectfully and as carefully as this production by the Royal Czech Ballet, audiences will continue to flock to them to be enchanted.


                                             Photos supplied by the company.

          This review also published in AUSTRALIAN ARTS REVIEW. www.artsreview.com.au