There have been many versions of Sleeping Beauty throughout our history; from the earliest version Perceforest from 1528, the Brother's Grimm fairy tale in 1697, to Disney's 1959 animated movie. Now it has been given a reboot spanning from the Edwardian era through to modern day.
Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty is a modern take on a classic tale but as you've never seen it before, drawing on elements from the stories you have come to know and love but with a gothic twist of its very own.
We are transported back to 1890 as Princess Aurora is born to King Benedict and Queen Eleanor. A dark fairy Carabosse curses her to 100 years of sleep if she pricks her finger on a rose when she comes of age at 21.
Only true love's first kiss will release her from the curse but when she wakes, all those who meant the most to her would have passed, including her beloved. Will the Princess ever be reunited with her true love again?
Perfect for fans of Swan Lake and Nutcracker- this is another chance for audiences to enjoy Tchaikovsky's most adored compositions. If you have seen the Disney version you will recognise many of the songs that provide the script for the fairy tale. Don't worry too much if you think you aren't familiar with Tchaikovsky's work because you are- you just don't know it yet!
The set was haunting, especially during act three when Aurora wakes up and finds herself in the bowels of the gloomy forest. The smokiness against the backdrop of the moon was incredibly atmospheric as were the sillouhettes of the fairies when they came to visit her in her bedroom when she was a baby in act one.
The production was filled with magic, fairies, vampires and love and romance- all the key ingredients for fans of the genre.
The fact that the tale spanned from medieval to modern day means it will appeal to all age groups- not just those who are familiar with the original story.
The production is easy to follow as the key points were projected onto the partition screen to keep the audience abreast of the time period and the back story.
It would be wrong of me to select one or two of the cast when it was such a collaborative effort- every one of the dancers had an integral part to play. The whole cast were incredible at translating the story into dance and with the music in the background you were able to pick up the mood and the feeling of each scene.
I was particularly impressed by the puppeteers who brought the baby Aurora to life- they expertly gave the doll a little personality of her own and made the audience laugh with her movements and reactions. It was some well needed comic relief to hook the audience in at the beginning of the performance.
Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty is a classic tale of good versus evil- something everyone can relate to. It's always interesting to see something you are familiar with get a makeover, it's important to breathe new life into such stories to keep them fresh and appealing to new audiences which was accomplished at Liverpool Empire Theatre last night.
'Thrills from start to finish. Utterly brilliant'
**** 'Hugely entertaining, the show has energy, menace and heart'
**** 'The audience are under Bourne's spell'
**** 'Exhilarating. A classic of the genre Bourne has made his own'
'Breathes new life into the well-known fairy tale with delightful twists'
British Theatre Guide
'For a ballet the family will love, you'll be onto a winner with Sleeping Beauty'
'A rich display of Bourne's choreographic and theatrical invention'