Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty

Empire Theatre
30th April - 4th May 2013

Reviewed by Diane Jansen

The curtains open to thunder and lightning and a Gothic set coloured in brown and gold. Baby Aurora is worked by a puppeteer and looks so lifelike you would think she was real. The audience emitted a lot of aahs.

All the fairies danced as though they where floating with the clever use of a moving stage. The Lilac fairy that is protecting Baby Aurora also has vampire powers; while the wicked fairy played by a man is splendid in a red dress, fabulous make-up and eagle type wings.

The set changes to a magnificent sunlit garden with red roses for Aurora’s coming of age. Instead of pricking her finger on a spinning wheel she pricks it on a black rose given to her by Carabosse, the wicked fairy.

One hundred years later three people in modern dress and with a mobile phone take photographs of the gate behind which Aurora is sleeping. Emerging from a tent after a hundred years, who has been bitten by The Lilac fairy, emerges Leo to save Aurora.

In the final scene the vampires are dressed in burlesque red costumes. After a dramatic ending Leo saves Aurora. As in all good vampire and fairy tales they all lived happily ever after.

You could not fault the choreography, costumes, make up and set. Matthew Bourne always has a pleasant twist to his ballets.

It was amazing to see The Empire nearly full with concession tickets costing £27.50, programmes £4 and coffee £2.50. At those prices you would think they would have a live orchestra to add to Tchaikovsky’s emotional music and a buffet!!!

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