Ballet with a Glasgow twist

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SEX, rock and roll, ballet and...Glasgow? An unusual combination perhaps – but a popular one, if Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling is anything to go by.

The legendary choreographer turned his hand to classic romantic ballet La Sylphide in 1994, reworking it into a contemporary Scottish show set in the dear, green place.

It was nicknamed La Sylphide for the Trainspotting generation – and it’s easy to see why.

James, an unemployed welder, has recently married his beloved Effie – but he’s drawn to the dark side in various guises, and when he comes across a beguiling gothic fairy, his tendencies toward excess become an obsession.

His new-found love for this strange and other-worldly being leads him on a fateful journey beyond the dark streets of Glasgow and into a magical world beyond reason – but not without some trademark tartanry.

The Scottish Ballet production is on exclusive licence from Matthew Bourne, marking the first time he has handed over a piece to a company other than his own – but, he states that “it’s a really exciting time for Scottish Ballet and this collaboration seemed just right.

“I originally made the piece after being inspired by touring to Scotland, so it seems perfect that it comes home once more.”

The company’s involvement also means that it’s the first time Highland Fling will have a live musical accompaniment, courtesy of the Scottish Ballet Orchestra.

Head of music and resident conductor, Richard Honner, explained: “Most audiences will not have heard the extended version of Herman Severin Løvenskjold’s score, even if they’re familiar with La Sylphide.

“At the time it was written, all things Scottish were in vogue – and here we are once again, nearly 200 years later, pairing it with Matthew Bourne’s vibrant, modern choreography performed by Scotland’s national dance company.”

So there you have it – the Scots are back in vogue, in their kilts and ready to mingle in Glasgow nightclubs and fairy underworlds alike. And who would want to miss that?

Highland Fling runs at the Theatre Royal April 27 – May 4. Performance times vary, and tickets are £8-£35 from 0844 871 7647 or