14 THE LIST ‘5- .) Mar 2003
“It’s accessible for people who aren't ballet or dance fans,’ says Bourne
CHRISTMAS COME EARLY
He set La Sylphide in the Highlands and turned Swan Lake into an all-male gay fantasy. So why shouldn’t MATTHEW BOURNE do his Nutcracker! in spring? ‘.'.’orr_lf,. Donald Hutera
aven‘t we all moved on in the weeks since
(‘hristmasi’ In the case of British choreographcr/
director Matthew Bourne and his company New Adventures. the answer is an emphatic ‘no‘. Bourne's .\"un'rm'korf is touring the L'K until the end of .\lay. with stops scheduled in (ilasgow and lidinburgli.
An expansion of Bourne's original l‘)‘)2 staging for Opera North. this cheeky. lavish dance production is plainly much more than a hoary seasonal staple. Yes. it's set at Christmas. and it follows the rougli outline of li'l‘A lloffmann's certifiably‘ classic tale of young ('lara’s infatuation with the stiff. titular male object. Bttt. working with the fabulously witty designer Anthony Ward and a terrific ensemble. Bourne has rcfasliioned a familiar scenario into a playful. knowing comedy of economic. romantic and coming-of-age sexual liberation.
The first act is set in a marvellously grim. l)ickcnsian orphanage worthy of lidward (iorey. llerc (‘lara and her fellow w'aifs and strays suffer under the thumb of mean l)r l)ross and his family. Thanks to the Nutcrackcr's heroic intervention. in the second act they're all transported to a deliciously ()'l"l‘ Sweetieland that plays like an extended version of a Busby Berkeley musical number. 'l'herc people are judged by how they taste rather than how they look. and (‘Iara must compete with a spoiled rival for her man‘s affections.
'This is a feel-good show.‘ says Bourne. 'You feel quite
high at the end. 'l‘liat's why it” keep working through the year. The big venues wouldn't be presenting it in May if they thought that was an odd thing to do. .\lost will be sold out because .Vlllt'l'rlt‘kt'l‘ its at title sells.‘
So does Bourne's own moniker. 'l‘hc lortysonietliing Londoner is a dab hand at tweaking the classics. In the past he reinvented the 19th-century ballet /.u xv/p/m/(r (set in the Highlands) and transposed ('i'm/t'n'l/u to wartime London. Hes also a master at pastiche. for the sc\ed-up dance melodrama 'I'ln' ('ur .llun be blended Bi/et. 'l'lit' I’m/Hum .tl/n'uy‘s Rings 'livit't' and Italian cinema.
l'nquestionably Bournc is most famous for a .S'n'un /.(l/s(’ that slyly referenced British royalty. had a gay subtext and featured a bevy of male birds. llaying taken the West lind and Broadway by storm. this multiple award-winning production has since toured the world with Bourne's name :tbtiy'e the title.
('an he define his own style'.’ 'lt's an identity. a brand- name for a certain type of entertainment. In its simplest form. it's storytelling without words. It will be funny at times. You’re going to be moved as well. Also. it’s accessible for People who aren't ballet or dance fans. The look. the story and the feel are highly theatrical. but not in a way that you don‘t understand what's going on.
"lliis show connects with lots of people on different levels.' Bournc continues. turning his attention back to Kiln/taker} 'lt‘s usually focused on ('lara. I tried to make it