Sunday, 27 December 2015

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty at Sadler's Wells

My final pre-Christmas entertainment was the traditional visit to Sadler's Wells to see the Matthew Bourne and this year it's 'Sleeping Beauty'. I saw this on it's initial run a few years ago at Sadler's Wells and it\s great to see it again. I like having Christmas traditions and this is a nice one to have. I bought tickets as soon as they went on sale over the summer and got them right in the middle of the best row to have a perfect view of the show.

It\s the tale of Princess Aurora who is adopted by the king and queen in 1890, courtesy of the fairy Carabosse. Unfortunately, the king wasn't sufficiently grateful and she visits to curse the baby but is fought off by Count Lilac and the good fairies. It's then 1911 and Aurora's birthday at a grand Edwardian garden party, when Carabosse's son, Caradoc, tricks her into pricking her finger on a black rose and she falls into a deep sleep for 100 years. Her young lover is transformed by the fairies so he can live to re-awaken her 100 years later  and that's what he does, except Caradoc tricks young Leo and seizes Aurora to sacrifice her at a dark party but is again saved by the rave Count Lilac and they all live happily ever after.

 Of course, there's a lot more going on than just these bare bones of the plot. I love the first act with the troupe of good fairies who visit the baby princess and each leave a white feather in her cot and then proceed to dance their gifts. I liked the second fairy and named her gift 'flibberty-jibbet' and lo and behold, that's how Aurora acts before her birthday party, like a right old flibberty-jibbet disobeying her nurse and mother! It was all very gothic and atmospheric so we're well prepared for when Carabosse appears doing her evil stuff with her hounds.

It's a great show and I'd urge you to see it if you can, either at Sadler's Wells or when it goes on tour in the New Year. It's great story, great dancing and some really good young dancers. It's great to see Ashley Shaw and Adam North as Aurora and her love, Leo, the gamesman and they work really well together in a great partnership.  I also liked Tom Clark as both Carabosse and Caradoc, evil fairies both who get their just desserts for being nasty, and Christopher Marney as the brave Count Lilac who challenges mother and sun and saves Aurora. All the dancers are excellent and it's enhanced by the great staging, costumes and atmospheric lighting. Go and see it if you can and be prepared to be transported into a world of wonder.

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