THE name Matthew Bourne and Swan Lake is the theatrical equivalent of a dream ticket.

Twenty four years ago the good knight of choreography presented his all-male version.

It created a legend. A lasting legacy.

It is still talked about to this day.

And since 1995 it has broken barriers, inspired new dancers and brought people to the theatre who may not have gone before.

I have interviewed Sir Matthew and was struck by his softy-spoken passion for everything he puts his creative mind to, from adaptations of Red Shoes to Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

His New Adventures Company are happily taking so many established and new art adventurers with him.

He never disappoints when making dance more accessible.

Ten minutes into this new 2018 production, I was thinking ... is this really Swan Lake?

Have they changed the ballet for something else and not told us?

I, like the sell out audience, were in for quite a journey.

This is Swan Lake ... and more.

From a royal bed chamber to ballrooms, a command performance in an opera house, seedy night club called the Swank, a stark mental institution and a beautiful moon-lit lake you simply cannot afford to miss every scene and imaginative innovation.

Liam Mower is the love-lorn prince infatuated by the enigmatic male swan/stranger.

Every human emotion arises from jealousy to elation.

The 14 male swans with their sinister imagery attack your attention.

Graceful and aggressive at the same time.

The dance of the cygnets is a particular highlight - visually stunning and yet funny with featherlight touches and expressive arm / wing movements.

There are plenty of surprises in the two and half hours including a royal corgie (I'd love to have one of these to take to the park) and a sparkling performance by Freta Field as the flighty 'girlfriend' who makes the most of some inventive comic moments.

Max Westwell as the swan switches from macho male to a sensitive desperate figure - a marvellous contrast.

This is Swan Lake for the 21st Century.

It has a distinct cinematic feel notably the lighting and other trademarks of Mattew's collaboration with designer Lez Brotherston's magnificent sets, costumes and design.

Tchaikovsky's timeless score - recorded by the original Swan Lake Orchestra in 2094 - soars and soothes just like the swan projections that delight from the outset.

The finale had everything you would expect from a flawless re-Bourne Swan Lake.

The audience were on their feet for virtual curtain call after curtain call leading to a rousing swan for the road ovation.

Five Stars

Legendary ... Again.

The show is at Liverpool Empire until Saturday.

Tickets from the box office on 0844 871 3017.