Review: Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

Dominic North (Leo) and Ashely Shaw (Aurora) Credit: Johan Persson

Dominic North (Leo) and Ashely Shaw (Aurora) Credit: Johan Persson

Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Until: Saturday 21 November 2015
Performance Reviewed: Tuesday 17 November 2015
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures has returned to the Theatre Royal, this time with a production of Sleeping Beauty, sub-titled ‘A Gothic Fairy Tale’.

This is the third production of Bourne’s that I have seen in recent years, having seen both Swan Lake and Edward Scissorhands in 2014 and I have made no secret of the fact that I absolutely adore his work. Prior to seeing Swan Lake I was never a huge fan of ballet, but his contemporary take on well-loved stories has changed my thinking on ballet and dance productions.

Sleeping Beauty as a story has been changed ever so slightly to bring a gothic feel to it (please don’t be thinking of Disney before you come) and the plot is dark and features vampires, whilst still using the traditional Tchaikovsky score, albeit edited slightly.

The story is that of the King and Queen, who, unable to have a child of their own, are given the gift of a child by Carabosse, the dark fairy (played by Tom Clark). However, when the King does not show how grateful he is, Carabosse decides to teach him a lesson, cursing the child. When Carabosse dies, her curse is thought to have died with her, but no one had given a second thought to her son, Caradoc (also played by Tom Clark).

Aurora (played by Ashley Shaw) grows up to be a tomboyish girl with many suitors, but finds herself attracted to Leo, the Royal Gamekeeper (played by Dominic North), when she pricks her finger on a black rose, Carabosse’s curse becomes apparent.

There are so many wonderful scenes and Bourne’s choreography and story is brought even more to life by Lez Brotherston’s stunning set and costume design. Every piece of this production is extremely well thought-out and it shows.

The production is not all dark, there is humour, particularly in the first act, with Baby Aurora, who is wonderfully puppeterered to show a mischievous little girl.

Each and every cast member performs faultlessly, keeping the audience attention throughout and their appreciation was made very clear at the curtain call. As is normally the case with Bourne’s productions, there are three cast members for each role and those who performed when I reviewed the production may not be performing when you see it. No matter what, the talent of the whole Company is outstanding and you will not be disappointed. If you haven’t already bought your tickets, get booking as soon as possible. Bourne’s name on any production means a top-class evening of entertainment.

For tickets, visit: Sleeping Beauty Glasgow tickets