Student Reviews: Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventure

Last week, world-renowned choreographer Matthew Bourne brought his ‘Early Adventures’ piece to the Liverpool Playhouse theatre. The programme took the audience through three dance pieces entitled: “Town and Country – Lie back and think of England…”, “The Infernal Galop – A French dance with English subtitles” and “Watch with Mother – Seen but not heard?”. LJMU students could get £5 tickets to see the performance, so have a look at what two LJMU students thought below!

Damien Horwood – Journalism – 3rd Year

“A rewarding experience for newcomers and long-time fans alike, Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures is exactly that – an adventure.

The show at the Liverpool Playhouse comprises three works from the beginning of Matthew’s career as choreographer and dancer, pieces that he feels are special to him as he also performed in them in his early days, pieces that despite being over 20 years’ old still look and feel fresh.”


“While all the pieces are reflective, Matthew singled out The Dearest Love – the duet between two men in the ‘Town’ section – as his most personal work.

Speaking to JMU Journalism, he said: “I used to dance it with my friend Scott Ambler. That was quite personal and a bit daring at the time. The idea was, let’s do a number for two men and be romantic about it. But the thing was, they never look at each other. Because they’re all uptight and English.”

Matthew also feels the piece highlights the change in the audiences since the work first toured. He noted how back then, the audience had different attitudes, whereas now people just see it as an endearing and moving dance.

Overall, the show is outstanding with flawless performances from the dancers and is the perfect blend of comedy and emotion.”

Matthew Bourne's Early Adventures

Megan Rainford – Dance – 3rd Year

“The three short pieces that captured the creative work of Bourne, Watch with Mother, Town and Country and The Infernal Galop, allowed the audience to be taken back. This showing a more classical way of choreographing with powerful and imaginative movement entwined within the material. It was refreshing to receive movement that maintained his own style but still sat within a truly classic approach, moving back to the routes of his movement. What is movement? I believe within today’s dance world, looking outside the box can sometimes leave us in a place of distance from the work created. Bourne allows and engages the audience back to original material, automatically giving a refreshing approach. We as audience members today have become so reliant on seeing new and shocking performances, believing that new is better. This not always being the case, standing Bourne in a perfect opportunity to share his earlier works.”


“With the use of a clear and simplistic set by Lez Brotherston, movement material was able to stretch across the space throughout. The intriguing mirrored scenery above reflected movement creating new dimension and further interest. A stimulating and suitable use of cycloramas that added to the effects but did not over power the material taking place. The scenery was well suited to the performance and collaborated beautifully. Sound and lighting showed awareness and perfect execution with clear engagement and creativity. Overall, extremely well collaborated with clear intensions throughout the performance work.

Early Adventures, although a previous work, allows us as audience members to witness movement material that does not hide behind Bourne’s new works but stands proud on its own. This offering more than a shocking and new take on what we believe art to be today, but delivering perfect technique that shows a true classical take on movement material. A performance that will engage with all and provide great entertainment, a must see performance.”


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