Matthew Bourne’s haunting new production at Sadler’s Wells is a gothic romance; a supernatural love story that even the passage of time cannot hinder. Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty sees the choreographer return to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the composer’s ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with Nutcracker! and, most famously, in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake.
This timeless fairy tale, about a young girl cursed to sleep for 100 years, was turned into a legendary ballet by Tchaikovsky and choreographer, Marius Petipa, in 1890. Matthew Bourne takes this date as his starting point, setting the Christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, in the year of the ballet’s first performance; the height of the Fin-de-Siecle period when fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination, before the story moves forward a century to the modern day. Bourne’s haunting new scenario is a gothic tale for all ages; the traditional tale of good vs. evil and rebirth is turned upside-down, creating a supernatural love story, across the decades, that even the passage of time itself cannot hinder.
Matthew Bourne’s new scenario introduces several characters not seen in Petipa’s famous Ballet or Grimm’s fairy tale. The Royal Family is headed by King Benedict and Queen Eleanor. Princess Aurora’s romantic interest is not a Prince, but the royal gamekeeper, Leo. Representing the central forces of good and evil are Count Lilac (“the King of the Fairies”) and the Dark Fairy Carabosse. In another innovation, Bourne has created the character of Caradoc, the sinister but charming son of Carabosse. Princess Aurora’s Fairy Godparents are named Ardor, Hiberna, Autumnus, Feral and Tantrum.
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, 4 Dec 2012 until 26 Jan 2013, Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN. www.sadlerswells.com
This production goes on tour after leaving Sadler’s Wells.