If your expectation of a night at the ballet is of frilly tutus, dainty dancers on tiptoe, the odd macho male in tights lifting the sparkly ladies in graceful twirls, a sweet fairyland setting, you’re in for a shock at The Swan this week.

It’s 28 years since Matthew Bourne amazed the ballet world when he created this totally different approach to Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet.

It received huge acclaim around the world, and this latest production, by Bourne and his company New Adventures, continues to wow audiences. It certainly did at The Swan on opening night on Tuesday, with a roaring standing ovation at the end.

So what’s it all about? This was my first experience of Matthew Bourne’s approach to a classic ballet, and it’s an emotional rollercoaster of an evening. Love and loneliness, jealousy and sensuality, yearning and rejection, jealousy and mental anguish… and no Happy Ever After.

Most famously this production is centred around male dancers, with the two key players, the prince and the lead swan, both males.

The swan is hunky and wears only feathered short trousers. The prince is young, slim, emotionally vulnerable - we see him as a child upset when spurned by his emotionally cold mother the Queen, and later struggling to relate to the ladies and court, then distraught when the good-time girl who seemed attracted to him is seen being paid by a courtier.

No wonder the bored, lonely palace misfit is attracted to the confident, dangerously charming lead swan.

But everyone is attracted to this alluring stranger too when he later appears at the Royal Ball…

But I won’t spoil the story, if you don’t know how it all pans out.

The dancing is amazing. Max Westwell as The Swan (who becomes The Stranger at the Ball) is an amazing presence as he dominates every scene in which he appears.

Dominic North is the vulnerable young Prince, whose displays great acting as well as dancing as he struggles to find his way into adulthood.

The flock of wild, menacing, highly masculine swans is a far cry from the usual ensemble of dainty girls. It’s hugely physical and gripping.

But it all starts serenely, with Tchaikovsky’s opening melodies against a backdrop of huge images of flying swans projected on the curtain.

It opens to show us the boy Prince waking from a nightmare involving a fierce swan and his mother failing to comfort him, before he becomes the young adult Prince awakening. This scene is cute and quirky, as a bevy of maids and manservants help him out of bed, wash his face, brush his teeth and dress him ready for the boring job of attending his stately mother as she cuts ribbons and christens a ship.

The pace is breathtaking all the way through and the style of dancing fast changing too, from romantic ballroom to seedy nightclub jazz. And throughout, the stately courtiers contrast with the sinister, physical dance of the swans.

The stage sets are beautifully designed, and as for the music - well, of course, it’s Tchaikovsky’s most famous. What might he have made of this reimagining of the classic story. And will I ever get close to a swan in Higginson Park again.

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake continues until Saturday, October 13 at Wycombe Swan.