Sleeping Beauty ★★★★★ Sadler's Wells Theatre | Nov 29, 2022 - Jan 15, 2023

In 2012, Sir Matthew Bourne gave a brilliant new interpretation to Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty. The production is back at Sadler's Wells for the holiday season, and it is as exciting and fresh as when it was created. The story of the princess who slept for one hundred years, only to be awoken by true love's kiss, is updated with a clearer, more contemporary narrative arc that is matched by an engagingly inventive choreography that allows the dancers to excel. Bourne's decision to begin the story in 1890, the year of the original creation of the ballet by Petipa, and then to bring the story to the present day allows him to incorporate movement from the original choreography as well as referencing the various dance styles over the story's hundred year span. We particularly enjoyed Act II set in 1911 with its whimsical waltz interpretations. Beautifully complementing the breadth and depth of Bourne's choreography were Lez Brotherston's costumes which ran from the historically accurate to the fantastically imaginative. The costumes and set caught the kaleidoscope of moods invoked by the fairy tale and its reinvention, giving the dancers ample opportunity to display their prowess. Ashley Shaw was a delightful Princess Aurora, strong and resilient, delicate and vulnerable. Paris Fitzpatrick in the dual roles of Carabosse and Caradoc was suitably malign and danced both parts to perfection. He was well matched by Dominic North as Count Lilac whose leaps were simply breathtaking. Kudos also to Andrew Monaghan. As Leo, he brought a subtlety and strength to his part as Aurora's true love and performed beautifully in their pas de deux. For the ideal holiday entertainment, one need look no further than this fairy tale that has been transformed into a beguiling gothic romance.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Johan Persson.

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