Yes, it's still a ballet, but Matthew Bourne's newly choreographed version of Swan Lake, now in its fourth month at London's Piccadilly Theatre, has become a legitimate theatre event, with serious talk of the show coming to Broadway.
According to "The Theatre List" newsletter (put out by the Society of London Theatre) , the Adventures In Motion Pictures company has made its reputation "through the subversion of traditional dance forms with productions of The Nutcracker and Highland Fling (based on La Sylphide)." The latter will be revived by the company in late February following their Swan Lake engagement. Other pieces by the troupe include Does Your Crimplene Go All Crusty When You Rub? (1987-90) and The Percys Of Fitzrovia (1991-93).
In this Swan Lake, Royal Ballet principal Adam Cooper plays the prince turned into a swan. Also performing are Scott Ambler (Prince) and Fiona Chadwick.
Howard Watson, of the Society of London Theatre, told Playbill On-Line that by the time the production closes Feb. 1, its 5-month run will be a record for dance in "a proper lyric house." The Piccadilly Theatre seats over 1,000.
Robert Noble, of the Mackintosh office in London, told Playbill On-Line that the musical would not come to New York in 1997, but the producer hopes the show will arrive here in `98. "We're not quite sure at the moment what the next option is. We're looking at Australia and Asia, and Broadway when that comes available." Asked why this Swan Lake has captured the public imagination, Noble said, "It's a mix of ballet and musical theatre. It's very accessible and more comic; you don't feel like you're sitting through your `normal' ballet."
A look at the Piccadilly stagebill shows that this Swan Lake has scenes not only in an opera house and the prince's bedroom, but in "A Seedy Club," where characters include a Pop Idol, East End Gangsters and a Pimp.
Swan Lake, winner of the 1996 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production, has lighting by Rick Fisher and a design by Lez Brotherston. The Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky score has been newly orchestrated by Rowland Lee.
Swan Lake plays at the Piccadilly on Denman St. Through Feb. 1. For tickets and information call (011) 44-71-369-1734.