Sleeping Beauty is Bourne again

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GO! is every bit as passionate about watching Matthew Bourne’s productions as he is about bringing them to the stage, writes Sammy Jones.

And this week, the choreographer’s latest work makes it to Milton Keynes Theatre, signalling another perfectly executed, evocative, engaging story told through dance and music.

This time, Bourne has again returned to the compositions of Tchaikovsky, as he has done previously with Nutcracker!, and what is widely regarded as Bourne’s ‘cygneture’ piece, Swan Lake.

This new production of the old classic is a mix of vintage and modern, and introduces some new characters to the piece to keep you on your toes, like the dancers..

King Benedict and Queen Eleanor are at the head of the Royal Family, but it isn’t a Prince that takes Princess Aurora’s attentions – rather the Royal Gamekeeper, Leo.

And where there is good, bad is sure to follow, and in this production they are represented by Count Lilac (King of the Fairies) and the Dark Fairy Carabosse.

Adding another sinister strand to the delivery, our choreographer has invented the role of Caradoc, Carabosse’s son, who is as charming as he is disturbing.

The names of Aurora’s Fairy Godparents are equally as inspired: Ardor, Hiberna, Autumnus, Feral and Tantrum...

Charles Perrault originally wrote the fairytale about the young girl who was cursed to sleep for 100 years, and it is now the stuff of fairytale legend.

Tchaikovsky and choreographer Marius Petipa turned it into the famous ballet back in 1890, and it is from this point that Bourne begins his interpretation, by setting Aurora’s Christening in the year of the ballet’s first performance.

‘Back then the Fin’de’Siecle period was at its height and fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination.

As Aurora grows up, the uptight Edwardian era rears its rigid head, enticing with its long summer afternoons and croquet on the lawn.

But when Aurora finally opens her eyes following that prolonged period of slumber, she finds herself in the here and now...bring back the gothic era, we say!

In essence though, Bourne delivers stage gold again, with a delicious tale for young and old, one that pits good against evil and ultimately creates a supernatural unstoppable love story that spins through the years.

New Adventures mainstays Dominic North, Christopher Marney, Hannah Vassallo and Ashley Shaw head up a terrifically talented cast, and the set, costumes and lighting are in safe hands too, with Tony Award-winning designers Lez Bortherston and Paule Constable taking care of business.

Sound designer Paul Groothuis – who did such a sterling job on last year’s production of Cinderella, is back in aurative control once more, ensuring your ears will be in for a treat every bit as much as your eyes.

Sleeping Beauty shows at MK Theatre from Tuesday through to Saturday, February 3.

Tickets start at £15 and rise to £35.

Call 0844 871 7652.