Review and picture gallery: Swan Lake on Ice at Norwich Theatre Royal

Swan Princess finds prince, loses prince and they break the evil spell. This, in a nutshell, is the whole story. And yet, for century after century Swan Lake still speaks to us. What's the reason?

For the Russians, who claim the story as their own, the swan is a symbol of the romantic soul: so you could see the ballet as a barometer of its audience's belief in love or otherwise: in productions where the swan gets it in the neck, presumably people aren't feeling particularly perky about romance and vice versa.

It's good to report that here, the swan triumphs. And spectacularly. Swan Lake On Ice pulls off a minor miracle on a tiny stage which sees some of Europe's most respected champions out do each other with twirls, whirls and impossible balances. And the acting's good too. Unlike the original ballet, Odile (the villainess) and Odette (the nice one) are played by separate performers – both equally strong. But the prince (Andrei Penkin) wins the day in this production. Despite a minor slide late in the day, he was both handsome and skilful. And his friend Benno (Ruslan Novoseltsev) was a wiry and impressive counterpart.

And after the dark, psychological brooding of the film: The Black Swan, it was so good to see something light and frothy with magical flying sequences, sparkling sequins and fabulous frocks.

Good to know that, after all, it is possible to live happily ever after.


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