Swan Lake – Moscow City Ballet: Richmond Theatre, London, 6 February 2013

What have you done for me lakely?

Who needs men anyway? Liliya Orekhova goes solo in Moscow City Ballet's Swan Lake

Who needs men anyway? Liliya Orekhova goes solo in Moscow City Ballet’s Swan Lake

It has to be said that Moscow City Ballet’s Swan Lake is a decent production with plenty of good dancing (especially from the female corps in the two lake scenes) and some lovely costumes.

Unfortunately the two lead male characters rather let the side down. The wiry Daniil Orlov played Von Rothbart camper than a Julian Clary bingo night in Cleethorpes so, unsurprisingly, was not in the least bit scarey.

More concerning was Talgat Kozhabaev’s lacklustre performance as Siegfried. Showing the Prince for the most part as self-satisfied and arrogant it was difficult to understand what, other than being a ticket out of eternal swan-dom, Odette could possibly see in him.

With her flickering fingers and twitchy gestures Liliya Orekhova’s Odette/Odile at times came across more Firebird than Swan Queen but she was by far the best thing on show. She danced superbly throughout with terrifically controlled footwork and dazzlingly sharp turns and even managed to wake Siegfried up briefly for an excellent Black Swan pas de deux.

The National dances were well-performed; Junko Tanaka’s Neapolitan Bride was particularly light and easy to watch while Anna Nunes Sarantseva and Mariko Kitamura looked gorgeous as Polish Brides and danced together with real panache. Faroukh Sadyrkulov’s bouncy Jester pleased much of the audience and the four cygnets synchronised their steps wonderfully well.

Victor Smirnov-Golovanov’s choreographic storytelling was generally clear except for a baffling ending: Siegfried and Odette disappeared behind a crowd of swans, presumably dead but not noticeably reunited in heaven, while Von Rothbart had a lie-down front of stage having apparently acted his last only to leap up again just as the curtain came down. Boo!

Moscow City Ballet perform Swan Lake again at Richmond Theatre on 7 February 2013 and then change to The Sleeping Beauty between 8-10 February 2013. Tickets can be bought from the Richmond Theatre website.

Gerard Davis

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