Swan Lake, London Coliseum, review: Sparkling guest turn cannot save a dull production

Kimin Kim is marvellous, but the St Petersburg Ballet do not show him off

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The Independent Culture

Kimin Kim’s jump soars like an eagle, but even he can’t lift St Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s trudge through Swan Lake. His guest star turn is a glimpse of sparkle in a glum performance.

The company’s London season is led by homegrown ballerina Irina Kolesnikova, but eked out with a range of guest stars.  The Korean-born Kim has been borrowed from the Mariinsky Ballet, St Petersburg’s most famous company. He’s a marvellous dancer, with aristocratic bearing and fabulous technique. His leap is airy, his line gorgeously lucid.

Yet Swan Lake doesn’t show him off. He has to do a lot of princely standing about, which reveals his limitations as an actor. He’s a secure partner for Natalia Matsak’s brittle Swan Queen, but they have little chemistry. Matsak vamps it up in the Black Swan pas de deux, but is wobbly in the technical fireworks.

The rest of the production is dutiful but dull. There’s a lack of pace to the storytelling, with bland or hammy mime scenes. Throughout, the dancing is blunt. The swans flock into place, but lack energy. The court scenes plod, with no dash to the national dances. Everybody works hard, but it’s an uphill struggle.

Until 22 August. Box office 020 7845 9300

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