If ever you want to take a traditional classic, shake it up, sprinkle it with magic and create something so breath-taking you’d happily retake your seat and watch it immediately again, then give the incredible Matthew Bourne a call.
Originally created for New Adventures 25th birthday celebrations in 2012 and part of Matthew Bourne’s trio of re-worked Tchaikovsky favourites (which also included the Nutcracker and Swan Lake), Sleeping Beauty is quite simply a must see show.
The drama and creativity Bourne brings to the piece is delicious, gliding from intimate duets to vibrant ensemble pieces effortlessly and adding a Gothic twist to proceedings along the way. As always Bourne’s sense of fun is never far away and in this production we see the addition of puppeteers bringing the baby Aurora to life, this offers Bourne’s dancers a great opportunity to inject some wonderfully comedic reactions to the mischievous princess’s behaviour.
Bourne’s reworking of the online casino piece includes some significant changes to the traditional story, after Carabosse (Adam Maskell) lays her evil curse on the young princess; she dies alone in the forest but not before leaving behind a brooding and mysterious son called Caradoc (also played by Adam Maskell) who makes it his mission to win the heart of Aurora (Ashley Shaw). Unfortunately for Caradoc, Aurora’s heart already belongs to Leo (Chris Trenfield), the palace gamekeeper. The Lilac Fairy in Bourne’s interpretation is a male King of the Fairies, portrayed wonderfully by Christopher Marney and Princess Aurora’s Fairy Godparents are full of personality with expressive names like Feral and Tantrum.
Ashley Shaw who I had the privilege of seeing last in Edward Scissorhands is as perfect a principle as you could wish for, her first half performance as the young, feisty Aurora is playful and joyous, second half when the mood becomes more sinister it’s brooding, sensual and full of passion. Her pairings with both Leo (Chris Trenfield) and Caradoc (Adam Maskell) are perfection, both very different performances but entirely bewitching, I could literally watch them dance all day long.
The company as a whole are enchanting, add to this sumptuous costume and set design from Lez Brotherston and the scene is set for another almighty Matthew Bourne triumph. Prepare yourself to leap up with the rest of the audience in standing ovation whilst kicking yourself that you never kept up with those childhood ballet lessons, outstanding!
24th – 28th Nov