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Review: Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling is a bewitching Celtic fairy tale

Scottish Ballet presents Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling (Andy Ross)
Scottish Ballet presents Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling (Andy Ross)

SCOTTISH BALLET’s production of Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling opens the curtain to a night of debauchery.

The show is a contemporary update by the visionary choreographer which drags romantic ballet La Sylphide into the downtrodden social clubs of Scotland.

There’s no twinkling Sugar Plum Fairy here, but rather a bawdy night out in Glasgow complete with drugs, jealousy and principal character James (Christopher Harrison) slumped in a urinal.

The Sylph (portrayed bewitchingly by Sophie Martin) enters into the fray, taking a setting which could have been ripped from an Irvine Welsh novel and scattering it with black fairy dust.

Mesmerising from the beginning, Sophie plays her sprite-liness with sprightliness and when James falls for her, the audience does to.

The Sylphs in Scottish Ballet’s production of Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling (Andy Ross)

The playful first act, featuring a raucous stag do and wedding party, is a crowd-pleasing romp full of tartan, celebrations and football regalia.

The second half turns the page on the tenement flat chapter and falls down the rabbit hole into a twisted gothic fantasy

Sophie Martin. Sylph and Christopher Harrison as James with the company in Scottish Ballet’s production of Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling (Andy Ross)

Despite some light relief from the cheeky Sylph chorus dancers, the latter part of the ballet has the feel of classic tragedy.

While the faeries get up to mischief and the young couple begin their affair, the audience have that gnawing dread that things will soon unravel.

The closing scenes of the Celtic fairy tale have the macabre yet magical air of a Hans Christian Andersen fable.

Scottish Ballet exclusively presents Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling (Andy Ross)

Verdict 

★★★�

A show that’ll leave you as dazed as a night out on the Glasgow tiles. This is one fling you won’t forget.

Tour Dates:

Theatre Royal, Glasgow 4-7 April 2018

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh 10-14 April 2018

Clickimin Main Hall, Lerwick 21-22 April 2018

Pickaquoy Centre, Kirkwall 25 – 26 April 2018

Atlantis Leisure, Oban 29-30 April 2018

Lewis Sports Centre, Stornoway 3-4 May 2018

www.scottishballet.co.uk/event/highland-fling

Scottish Ballet to tour Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling – a show for the Trainspotting generation