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4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 7 February 2010
Anyone buying this set will probably do so with some foreknowledge of Matthew Bourne's productions. His Swan Lake is an ingenious and very freudian updating, with distinct homo-erotic overtones, of the classic Tchaikovsky ballet in which a handsome prince falls in love with a beautiful young woman who has been transformed by magical arts into a swan. In the Bourne version the prince is a neurotic and unhappy young fellow who has a difficult relationship with his indifferent and flighty mother, the swan figure that invades his fantasies has a nice pair of pecs and a six-pack, and the usual corp-de-ballet of young girls in tutus is replaced by some fit young guys in swan costumes. It's clever, even witty at times, but ultimately tragic and quite moving. The Nutcracker is rather further removed from the Tchaikovsky original in which a young girl is given a nutcracker doll for Christmas which morphs into a handsome youth who then whisks her off to a fantastic fairyland. In the Bourne version the tale concerns a group of downtrodden inmates of a repressive early 20th century orphanage who eventually find love and freedom although before this happens they too visit a fantastic world of sweets and knickerbocker glories. Carman, a sweatier and steamier affair altogether, is set to the music of Bizet's Carmen, and has noirish elements of movies like The Postman Always Rings Twice with a handsome and mysterious stranger drifting into town and stirring up the hormones of both sexes with fatal consequences. The quality of Bourne's creative imagination and the vigour of the dancing have a tendency to obscure the sometimes mundane choreography, but whether you're interested in classical ballet or modern dance, or neither in particular, I'm pretty sure you'll find this an enjoyable trio. It should be clear, however, from the foregoing that this is not the most appropriate ballet fare for grans to watch with their 8 year old granddaughters.

Presentation-wise, this looks quite a handsome set but in fact it's a lazy and indifferent production with no extras (apart from a brief interview with Bourne) and wretchedly thin background notes.There aren't even proper synopses of the plots with the result that there were occasional moments in the Nutcracker where I couldn't understand what was going on. And whilst two of the discs have artwork one of them does not. So 5 stars for the ballets, 3 for presentation, 4 stars overall. Highly recommended all the same.
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on 3 April 2010
I was recently blown away by Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake at Birmingham Hippodrome - (I was haunted for days by the images of the beautiful but cruel male swans) and I also remembered Adam Coopers brief but spectacular appearance at the end of Billy Elliot. Having discovered I could own both in a DVD via Amazon, I ordered as soon as it came back into stock.

Oh ladies! Send the men out to the pub, (Tell them you're watching Swan Lake. They won't get out the door fast enough!) get the girlfriends/gay mates around, open a bottle of wine and you have the perfect ingredients for the best night in ever.

You don't even have to like ballet as its not strictly ballet. Adam Cooper with his top off for two hours. What more can a girl/gay guy ask? (although he looks pretty sexy in a dinner jacket too!) It's fast become my secret, guilty pleasure. Not so secret now obviously!

Swan Lake comes with two other ballets so you get three for the price. The Car Man is well worth a look but my 7 yo found it a bit bloody. You can't help feeling sorry for the stagehands and wardrobe mistress who has to clean up afterwards!
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on 8 July 2014
I'm not a ballet-fan normally, but my daughter wanted to see this "Swan Lake" on stage, and I went along for the experience. It was truly terrific, and I would recommend it to anyone. I wanted the DVD of the original production, which proved slightly complicated, but was well worth it. It is a timeless piece, and proof that it is possible to up-date certain classic works with total relevance to to-day's world. And anyway, the music is heavenly!
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on 22 July 2014
These three ballets, imaginatively choreographed and brilliantly danced, are well worth watching again and again, so I wanted to
replace my TV recordings with perfect recordings. Being miserly, I waited for prices to come down and of course this box set suddenly
became unavailable everywhere, except for odd copies at extortionate prices. While sulking and waiting for the three separate recordings of the ballets to come down in price, Amazon advertised the box set at a reasonable price and I immediately bought It.
I suggest you do the same.
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on 21 July 2010
I bought this dvd specifically for Car Man, as I already had the other two titles on individual dvd. Matthew Bourne can do no wrong for me. His Swan Lake will always be the definitive version of this strong story. Nutcracker I just love because its different. Car Man is every bit as exciting as I thought and I am so glad I found it at last.
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on 11 April 2014
I had previously only seen the Sky Arts play of Swan Lake - this DVD has a different cast & I found the ideas expressed more clearly; but I bought the set chiefly to see Car Man - very powerful & I loved the sets. NB the DVD arrived promptly and well packaged. MATTHEW BOURNE IF YOU READ THESE REVIEWS PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PUBLISH DORIAN GRAY ON DVD!
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on 3 May 2012
Haven't actually had time to watch these yet but have seen them all before at the theatre and on someone else's DVD. The Nutcracker is wonderful with some nice humour. The Car Man is fab and slightly raunchy. Swan Lake is just out of this world. The male swans are amazing and I will never tire of watching this, whether live or on DVD. (Matthew Bourne takes a classic ballet and gives it his own special twist so don't expect the traditional performance although the music is the same.) Personally, I will watch anything that Matthew Bourne has choreographed as he is superb and the dancers are fabulous.
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on 10 July 2015
I have meant to see this for ages and was not disappointed. Clever stuff. But I do wish that editors would not choose to show close in shots of dancers mid dance when I want to see the whole body DANCING!
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on 7 July 2014
i ordered this for a friends birthday and it arrived this morning just in time and well before i was expecting it.
its in perfect condition all sealed up, obviously i have to leave it like this so i can pass it on (i was gunna sneakily watch them first shh).
i've noticed it also has a 15min long interview with mr bourne himself which i didn't realise it had.
overall i am extreamly happy with this purchase and its quick and safe arrival.
thank you.
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on 15 May 2013
Prompt mailing, and hassle-free service. My wife and I are Matthew Bourne fans and will enjoy viewing these 3 DVDs
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