It's not often you get the chance to see a ballet as sprawling and as large-scale as the English National Ballet's production of Raymonda at the Bristol Hippodrome, especially if you live in Swindon.
But just a short trip down the M4 was all that was needed to take in a night of classical dancing courtesy of the best producers of ballet spectacle for the widest possible audiences in the UK.
Personally, I am not the biggest fan of ballet and often its qualities and intricacies are lost on me. This is why I like more contemporary ballet performances like those from Matthew Bourne rather than the classical and iconic bread-and-butter ballet shows.
While Raymonda certainly felt like a more classic ballet, there were a lot of elements to Tamara Rojo’s reimagining of the 19th-century, that made it appealing, most centrally the recognisable love triangle at the middle of its story.
In the story, originally from Marius Petipa, we meet Raymonda. She is a young Englishwoman who follows her soldier fiance into the Crimean war, but finds herself caught between him, his Ottoman acquaintance, and a newly discovered passion for nursing.
The show as its best when these three are the focus with Fernanda Oliveira as the titular character, Francesco Gabrielle Frola as the almost-too-perfect John De Bryan and Erik Woolhouse as love-rival Abdur Rahman all putting in faultless performances.
It's less good when these three are sidelined in favour of the bigger ensemble numbers . Raymonda has a very large cast of dancers who are all extremely talented but when they fill the stage, despite adding some grand spectacle, things get a bit messier and unfocused.
The standout for me though, as an exception to what I've just said, was Precious Adams as Sister Clemence - a close friend to our heroin and nun. Her clean solos exuded the calmness and beauty you might usually expect to see in ballet and each one grabbed my full attention, partly because they contrasted with the rest of the sprightly and jolly dance throughout.
The story is a fairly simple one - the heroin can't choose between two men - but it is at its best when told through abstract means, with a superb lantern-filled dream sequence in the first act proving to be the show at its best.
Ultimately though, even though the dancing is great, the sets are visually inventive and interesting and the costumes are fantastic Raymonda's final decision at the end doesn't serve as a big and effective enough climax to carry the whole thing.