Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty at the New Wimbledon Theatre
Ancient tales and myths possess a decidedly magical quality in that their simplicity allows for infinite creative licence – a quality that Matthew Bourne fully embraces in New Adventures’ ballet interpretation of Sleeping Beauty. Accompanied and led by Tchaikovsky’s original 1890 music, this production presents a thoroughly gothic take on the tale, introduces new characters and is full to the brim with fairies and vampires.
The choreography of the piece is decidedly inspired by the era in which the narrative is set. The opening scene places us in a grand 1890 household and begins with classical ballet sequences, followed by a clear nod to Edwardian dance crazes in Aurora’s birthday party of 1911. The final acts boast a more contemporary ballet style, which is particularly fascinating alongside the soundtrack of Tchaikovsky.
Aurora herself is interpreted as a free-spirited but naïve young lady and is very much the focus of the piece. Ashley Shaw shines in the lead role and is breathtaking to watch, gliding across the stage with beautiful grace. She is particularly mesmerising in a sleepwalking sequence in which her movement mimics the uncontrollable freedom of someone that is sleeping. An enjoyable addition to the cast is the adorably comedic baby Aurora, a puppet controlled by invisible dancers, who delights the audience throughout the opening scene.
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty is darkly enchanting and hauntingly magical. The intimate baroque surroundings of the New Wimbledon Theatre are the perfect setting for this production, but if you don’t manage to snap up tickets in time, the show is heading on tour until the end of September.
Sleeping Beauty is on at the New Wimbledon Theatre from 22nd until 26th March 2016, for further information or to book visit here.