THE English National Ballet's current touring version of Swan Lake is one of the most delightful I have seen in my many decades of reviewing.

Liverpool's Empire audience welcomed it, too, with open arms on the opening night with a rousing standing ovation.

Choreographed by Olivier-nominated Derek Deane it will certainly appeal to those, like me, who will never tire of its magic and romance.

This colourful, vibrant version will enchant newcomers of all ages.

It is an accessible creative mission at the heart of what ENB do so well.

Swan Lake is a tragic story that cannot fail to tug at the heart strings when performed with such finesse.

Princess Odette (Jurgita Droninat) is kidnapped by the wicked sorcerer, half man-half bird Rothbart (James Streeter) who turns her into a swan and condemns her to life under his spell.

But love conquers all (for a mortal time, at least ) as Prince Siegfred (Isaac Hernandez) pours out his heart with precise, deeply moving soul-searching dance movements.

His love for Odette/Odile is a match made in theatrical heaven.

It all leads to a sweeping wonderfully-orchestrated finale.

Now isn't that more appealing than staying at home watching I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here?

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This is strictly shimmering synchronicity throughout highlighted in the joyous Dance of the Cygnets which is sharp and dynamic.

It conveyed a real sense of friendship and teamwork. Swift and crisp in every step.

The four are linked together and look as though they would take flight at any moment. Pure visual, sensual magic.

The score is performed live by the English National Ballet Philharmonic under conductor Gavin Sutherland and on this occasion the harp gave an extra ethereal layer to the atmosphere.

Sumptuous sets and costumes from Peter Farmer make this Swan Lake so beautiful to look at in every act from the leafy adorned lake guarded by a distant moon to the Harry Potter-esque Grand Hall which hosts the multi-national dance sequences.

The eye for detail is a trademark of the ENB.

This three-hour production features additional choreography by Frederick Ashton and Howard Harrison's lighting captures the many moods to perfection.

Globe verdict:

Five stars - exquisite

The production is at the Empire until Saturday.

Tickets from the box office on 0844 871 3017.