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Sleeping Beauty

16 January 2013 1,605 views No Comment

Sadler’s Wells is a reasonably contemporary theatre and Matthew Bourne is the contemporary choreographer so we were prepared for alternative production elements. Admittedly there was a transvestite evil fairy, a gothic disco, a tent, a flying puppet child and a blindfolded dream sequence, but I would otherwise describe it as one of the most accessible and enjoyable ballets.

matthew bourne's sleeping beautyThere was no en pointe so the dancing was very informal, the body shapes and the movement around the stage were really free and unstructured, and there was a lot of work on the floor. All dancing, well all Art really, tells a story, but at times this was more like mime than dance. The performers (only 17 of them, I don’t know how they did some of those quick costume changes) brought each of their characters to life. Our seats were close to the front (thanks Nad) and you could even hear them acting, y’know panting, sighing, gasping, it was intense.

And it was funny. Actually, proper funny, not just thespy humour, I thought Bourne proved his smarts through that more than the dancing technique, he understands how to craft a performance. My favourite scene was the opening good fairy scene, their costumes, storytelling and staging were brilliant. Nad’s favourite scene was the gothic disco. Could be due to the powerful male lead, the blend of choreography, the almost-finale climax, or because there were fishnets, hot pants and over-the-knee boots on the stage all at once, hmmm.

Contemporary I get, and like I say it wasn’t mega confuse-your-brain contemporary, but I still have question: where was the orchestra? Do theatres not have orchestras anymore? Sure, playing Tchaikovsky’s score through a mini iPod is about as contemporary as you get but has the proper orchestra gone altogether.?

It’s been a great run of theatre in the last twelve months. You got any ideas of what to see next please?

Sleeping Beauty 2

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