Saturday, 30 March 2013

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty

Credit: New Adventures

I waited in anticipation to see New Adventure's production of Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty.  Sleeping Beauty was my very first ballet I saw, back in 1993, and produced by the English National Ballet.  I'm not a big fan of ballet even if I'll make an exception for Swan Lake and I'm always selective about seeing a specific ballet.  This is dependent on how the story and themes are interpreted. 

I was appealed to the New Adventures production which stated 'A Gothic Romance'.  This appealed to me instantly and also the creative team behind the production which included 2013 Olivier Awards nominees, Lez Brotherton (sets and costumes) and Paule Constable (Lighting).  

This review is mainly subjective, not descriptive, so hopefully there shouldn't be any spoilers for those who are planning to see it but haven't yet.  

I love how the story is narrated on the stage at the beginning and in between acts/scenes.  It was a nice touch so the audience doesn't lose touch of the plot!  The story is told chronically from the development of Gothicism, from the Romantic Movement at the beginning of the 19th Century,  to the modern times of the 21st Century.  It didn't compromise the unrequited love between Aurora (Ashley Shaw) and Leo (Dominic North).  It is cleverly choreographed and directed perfectly.

I love the use of colours used on stage to feature the Gothicism and darkness along with the chosen moods for the scenes.  It was a down to earth realistic interpretation of a 'classic'.  Matthew Bourne isn't afraid of being different and it's not just restricted to literally interpreting the classical story with the wonderful score of Tchaikovsky.

I thoroughly enjoyed the production. I found the production refreshing as the usual classical ballet based on the well known story doesn't appeal to me.  I think Bourne's aim is to reach out to new audiences.

Some theatre etiquette couldn't have gone amiss to an annoying family who sat not far behind me.  They were rustling from unwrapping sweets, chatting throughout, banging seats and making unnecessary stops to the toilets.  This ruin the silent mood required for some of the dance acts and I had no choice but to complain to the usher during the interval.  I have a good mind to do a blog about theatre etiquette as the issue seems to be getting worse whenever I go to the theatre and I'm getting fed up of it!

On a positive note, I'm intrigued to see some more of New Adventures/Matthew Bourne's productions in the future. 

You can find out more information about the company and their productions via their website here.

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