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Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'
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Author:  Azlan [ Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:42 am ]
Post subject:  Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

Choreographer's 'La Sylphide' remake infuriates musicians

Musicians have condemned a £200,000 funding for a new ballet, which uses a recording instead of live musicians. <a href= target=_blank>more</a>

<small>[ 11 April 2005, 10:39 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Jan 09, 2005 4:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

Musicians condemn £200,000 for ballet minus the orchestra
By Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent

A ROW has erupted over an Arts Council decision to give more than £200,000 to Matthew Bourne, the choreographer, to perform his latest ballet to recorded music.

A 1986 Danish recording of Herman Lovenskiold’s 1836 score will be used instead of an orchestra when Highland Fling tours such venues as the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, and The Lowry, in Salford, Manchester.

The move was condemned yesterday by the Musicians’ Union. Horace Trubridge, its Assistant General Secretary, said that public money was being spent on a “ropy old recording”.

click for more

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Feb 09, 2005 3:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

Press Release

<img src="" alt="" />

Matthew Bourne's Highland Fling

Director and Choreographer Matthew Bourne
Design by Lez Brotherston
Music by (from the ballet La Sylphide)
Hermann Sevrein Lovenskyold

A romantic wee ballet

Internationally renowned director and currently London's hottest choreographer with Mary Poppins, four time Olivier Award and double Tony Award winner, Matthew Bourne returns with an acclaimed reworking of the classic romantic ballet La Sylphide. Following the sell-out success of Swan Lake, Play Without Words and Nutcracker!, this brand new production, re-choreographed and totally re-designed, is bigger and even better than his original 1994 version - now with double the number of cast members.

A compelling romance, Highland Fling follows James, a young Glaswegian who is captured and ensnared by an unearthly siren. Intoxicated and infatuated by her wild and exotic ways, the beautiful Sylph taunts and teases, leading him into an enchanting and mysterious world beyond the mean streets and nightclubs of Glasgow.

A gossemer, gothic fable of winged fairies and kilted laddies, this mystical and magical adaptation is packed with Bourne's trademark wit, sparkle and humour. Full of exquisite surprises and extraordinary images, this imaginitive and spellbinding fairy tale is a unique delight - book now!

'Extravagantly witty' - Independent

'This is one of the funniest, funkiest, most irresistably infectious ballets I have ever had the delight of sitting through' - Daily Mail

'Wicked and conpulsively watchable' - Time Out

"Highland Fling" opens the UK tour of the revised production at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley:


Sat 12 Feb: 7:45pm
Mon 14 Feb: 7:45pm
Tue 15 Feb: 7:45pm
Wed 16 Feb: 7:45pm
Thu 17 Feb: 2:30pm, 7:45pm
Fri 18 Feb: 7:45pm
Sat 19 Feb: 2:30pm, 7:45pm


Mon - Thu eves & Sat mat £22.50 £20.00 £18.50
Thu mat & Sat 12 eve all seats £18.50
Fri & Sat eves £25.00 £22.50 £20.00

Ticket Sales: 0870 060 6620 (bkg fee)
The Box Office is open from 10am-8pm Mon to Sat. On non-performance days the Box Office closes at 6pm. On Sunday performances, it opens one hour before the show starts.

Friends Hotline: 020 8460 5838

Fax: 020 8290 8248

Ticketmaster: 0870 444 6063
24hr (booking fee)

Dance Workshop
Friday 18 February 3pm - 4.40pm £12pp.

An exclusive dance workshop with members of the acclaimed New Adventures company. Suitable for those with an interest in contemporary dance aged 16+.

To book, please call Ticket Sales on 0870 060 6620.

Post Show Talk
With members of the company. Wed 16 February

Talkbacks are free to ticket holders

Author:  Patricia Somerset [ Wed Feb 16, 2005 4:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

“Highland Fling” Churchill Theatre Bromley, 14th February 2005.

Highland Fling is Matthew Bourne’s re-working of “La Sylphide”. It tells the story of James, a young, newly married Glaswegian who is lured away from his wife by a strange and beautiful sylph. The first part of the ballet shows James at clubs, with his drunk and pill-popping friends, but occasionally being given a glimpse of the sylph, until she becomes an obsession and he finally goes with her to join the other sylphs. In the second act we see the sylphs in their home, not a beautiful forest, but waste ground outside the city with dumped cars and rubbish. The sylphs are winged and mysterious, but also savage and mud stained. They hunt small animals and live in the dirt. They are however moved by the relationship between James and the sylph and for a short time all is romantic and with cute little furry animals in the background, even twee! However, this is Matthew Bourne, so before long everything changes with James cutting off his sylph’s wings to the horror of the other sylphs. Confronting his blood-stained sylph he is in despair at what he has done. The sylph dies and the other sylphs take their revenge. The final scene is James, now with the wings of a sylph, looking in through the window at the domestic comfort of his young wife and her new partner, - dressed in tartan of course.

It was in Highland Fling that Matthew Bourne found that he could use humour to involve an audience and that the following tragedy would have an even greater impact. It does not have the emotional power of his Swan Lake, which followed, but still it has that element of shock that comes from horror following so unexpectedly on from humour and happiness.

With the first scene set in the club toilets and the performance starting with the hero collapsing in a urinal, it is clear that we are somewhat removed from “La Sylphide”. The Scottish theme of the ballet is very clear; in fact Scottishness is taken to unprecedented heights! There is tartan everywhere, deer’s antlers on the wall and pictures of Scottish heroes, such as Sean Connery. I had the impression that designer Lez Brotherson had enjoyed this Celtic challenge.

The first act contrasts wild dance with chaotic domesticity, jealousy and fights, - a very earthly existence. Lovenskjold’s music is dramatic and sometimes melodramatic and the choreography used the drama rather than trying to avoid it. The dancing was dynamic and exciting and the dancers were interesting, individual characters. James (James Leece) movingly conveyed his increasing bewilderment and fascination with the appearances of the sylph. In the first act, Kerry Biggins was a sylph with attitude! In the second act, however, the sylph is required to go from the joy of James being with her to the misery of having her wings cut off. Kerry managed this superbly. Whilst the first act had been much more narrative in style, the second act was almost entirely danced and the dancing was glorious. The other-worldly feel of the sylphs’ surroundings was enhanced by their excellent, eerie makeup (Chris Redman) and the lighting (Paule Constable).

For me there was only one sour note in this excellent work and that was the appearance of the woman in an electric wheelchair. There was no attempt at characterisation; she was only required to come on stage dressed in awful clothes and sit in front of the television. So presumably the humour of her appearance was meant to be that she looked strange and used a wheelchair. In the context of the many genuinely witty moments in Highland Fling, this seemed to me to be very out of place.

Apart from that one moment, I enjoyed the evening enormously; this “romantic wee ballet” is a treat not to be missed. Its run at the Churchill Theatre finishes on Saturday 19th February and it then tours the country including Sadler’s Wells London from 1st to 5th March.

<small>[ 16 February 2005, 02:04 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  corrival [ Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

Thank you Patricia for your great review. I just wish we had the opportunity to see it, here in the Washington DC area.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Feb 16, 2005 1:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

Patricia was fortunate to see the first performance of the revived and revised version of "Highland Fling". So, in 6-12 months, I'm sure it will start to tour internationally. Why notdraw it to the attention of suitablelocal venues, Corrival?

Great work, Patricia - can't wait for the Sadler's Wells performances.

<small>[ 16 February 2005, 02:05 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  kurinuku [ Wed Feb 16, 2005 11:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

A few surprises under their kilts

the Daily Telegraph

Choreographer Bourne and designer Brotherston have built two brilliant careers on their instincts for pouring old wine into new bottles.

Author:  monkeysraincoat [ Thu Feb 17, 2005 3:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

Wonderful review Patricia. Thanks for sharing.

Click here for the first studio photos from the production.

Stuart, hope to see you at Sadler's!


Author:  kurinuku [ Sat Feb 19, 2005 5:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'


the Guardian

But Bourne's work is actually a rewrite of the 1832 ballet La Sylphide , and in James he is simply rewriting the fate of the archetypal ballet hero - to be dazzled, deranged and ultimately destroyed by his love for a dead or magically unattainable woman.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Feb 19, 2005 5:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

Thanks for the link to the images, Dani. When will you be at Sadler's?

Author:  monkeysraincoat [ Sun Feb 20, 2005 8:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

Stuart -

I will be there for the run of the show - 01 March - 05 March.

Keeping my fingers crossed Will is ready to join the show by then. He missed a chunk of rehearsal time due to illness but he is back at it full force in rehearsals now and determined to be ready by Sadler's. I think it would be a real treat to see all three, Will, James Leece and Adam Galbraith dance James though.

It will be a treat to see you as well if you are in town.


Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Feb 20, 2005 9:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

Yes, I'll be in London for the run - let's meet up.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Feb 20, 2005 9:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

Yes, I'll be in London for the run - let's meet up.

Author:  salzberg [ Sun Feb 20, 2005 11:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

Horace Trubridge, its Assistant General Secretary, said that public money was being spent on a "ropy old recording".
Elsewhere in the article, Mr. Trubridge says, "It doesn?t need a great deal of planning or creativity to produce Highland Fling with a dozen musicians. Opera Box (the touring company) does fantastic things with six or seven musicians. It would cost (Bourne) perhaps £500 a week for each musician."

So that's £6,000/week for musicians, plus the prop people to set up and tear down the pit for every run, plus lodging, per diem, and instrument cartage -- as opposed to the one-time only cost of copying the recording (with backups, of course), royalties to the original orchestra, and the recurring cost of the sound operator to run it.

The money saved could easily be the difference between a community's being able to afford the performance or not. It sounds to me like public money's being well-spent.

<small>[ 20 February 2005, 12:23 PM: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

Author:  monkeysraincoat [ Sun Feb 20, 2005 7:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's 'Highland Fling'

Originally posted by Stuart Sweeney:
Yes, I'll be in London for the run - let's meet up.
Great I look forward to it. I will contact you this week by email. I'm trying to sort out my schedule now.

And let me just add -

Congrats to Matthew and to Stephen Mear who received an Olivier Award last night for Best Theatre Choreographer (Mary Poppins). Very much deserved.

Dani :)

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