Thursday, January 03, 2013

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty at Sadler's Wells

The Offsprogs, myself and McSis went off to Sadler's Wells yesterday evening to see this wonderful ballet. I do like Bourne's ballets but I also agree with the occasional critic who says that there's not enough dancing in them.
This one was a perfect antidote to that: after a charming start that included a lovely puppet rendition of the young princess and a projected precis of the story so far, a clutch of stylishly scruffy gothic fairies blew on to the stage and we watched a section of the show that had me dying for a rewind button; it was fabulous.
I particularly liked the little female fairy who bounced around the stage with a manic grin on her face, twitching and whisking her limbs around as though she were made of animated feathers; her part was over in the twinkling of an eye and there was no time to give her the applause she so richly deserved. Offsprog Two preferred pointy-man, who punctured a whole clutch of invisible balloons with his sharp pointy fingers, toes and even nose.
The costumes were to die for and emphasised the fact that Bourne's dancers appear to be in the air for an unfeasible 60% of the time.
From that point on the story came thick and fast; we had met the gigantic red Bad Fairy at the begining and (s)he reappeared in her born gender as The Bad Fairy's Son ready to seek vengeance. The very cute couple of the Princess and the Handyman did a lovely dance sequence on a garden bench that was reminiscent of the scene in the Sound of Music where Lisl and Franz (?) romance each other in the summer house.
Then of course, the The Bad Fairy's Son handed her a purple Bad Rose which pricked her finger and she fell asleep.
Events unfolded and we found ourselves in a red and black nightclub with The Bad Fairy's Son ready to marry the princess before sacrificing her. There was more beautiful ensemble dancing in this venue which resembled Cha Cha circa 1983, and another chance to see the dancer who played the Princess, Hannah Vasallo, show us just how lithe and graceful she was.
Hats off also to Ben Bunce as last night's Bad Fairy's Son: tall, scary, grimacing and a powerful presence on the stage.
Even the footlights had been made gothic with small brass wings upon them.
This ballet is stylish, well-choregraphed, beautifully performed (such fluid and well-rehearsed dancing!) and absolutely riveting to watch because of the costumes and overall design. I felt full of happiness as I watched it; I felt as though I too was floating through this world of mischief and magic with my bloated Christmas body left far below me on a velvet theatre seat!
What's more it even has a happy ending.
You must go to see it if you can: it's perfect.


Anonymous said...

I've never beenn to see a ballet, but after your decription, I want to see it!!

Helen McCookerybook said...

Happy New Year Anne!
I think it's going on tour and even for a person who has never seen a ballet before I think it would be a wonderful introduction to it; it's so informal-seeming in comparison to classical ballet, but it's obvious how well-rehearsed it is. We were all blown away by it!