REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty – Mayflower

16
March
2016

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Sleeping Beauty

Review: Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty – Mayflower



Back at the Mayflower this week with his adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s classical ballet, Matthew Bourne brings this revival of his 2011 production of Sleeping Beauty, with his company New Adventures. Currently in the middle of a nationwide tour, this is theatre at whole new heights.

Presented over four Acts, Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty is a twist on the familiar tale. Princess Aurora, brought up in aristocracy, falls for none other than the royal Gatekeeper, Leo. A fight between good and evil ensues upon Aurora’s 21st birthday, when dark fairy Caradoc seeks vengeance for his mother Carabosse, who dies in exile after cursing the princess as a baby.

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As is common in much of Bourne’s work, throughout Sleeping Beauty tradition and modernity wage constant battle, through the set design, the magnificent costumes, the powerful score, and most notably through the choreography. Bourne’s gift is making dance accessible to all audiences. His work is as much about drama as it is about dance and his attention to comedic detail is second to none (I particularly enjoyed the disgruntled footman at Aurora’s birthday party, giving up all pretence and throwing away his overlooked tray of cakes, amid the celebrations).

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Ashley Shaw is captivating as the Princess Aurora, exuding a youthful cheekiness during the first half of the production that is contrasted marvellously once she is wakened from her cursed sleep, and misled by Adam Haskell’s haunting, Dracula-esque Caradoc. Other standout performers are Liam Mower as Aurora’s guardian fairy Count Lilac and Chris Trenfield as her beloved Leo. It’s also pleasing to see local-girl Kate Lyons (The Fairy of Passion) return to perform in her hometown of Southampton.

Sleeping Beauty – the bar set by Matthew Bourne is no lower than outstanding

Bourne completes his trio of Tchaikovsky’s masterworks with Sleeping Beauty, and it’s a mark of how wonderful this production is by how many people remain in their seats for the post-show Q&A with the choreographer himself. Speaking of his requirement from his dancers, Bourne describes the cast of Sleeping Beauty as ‘generous with their movement, generous with the audience,’ and I can’t disagree.

Whether it be for the romance, the opulent gothic production or the laugh-out-loud humour, if you have the chance to catch this thrilling production, snap up your tickets now – I assure you you’ll be richer for it.

Mr Bourne leaves us with little more than a tantalizing mention of New Adventures’ next project, but if Sleeping Beauty is anything to go by, the bar has been set no lower than outstanding.

5 stars!