A performance by dance company New Adventures is a Christmas tradition at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London and this year is no exception. Artistic director, Matthew Bourne OBE brings to life once more the famous musical score by Tchaikovsky in this contemporary adaptation of Sleeping Beauty. Having recently producedSwan Lake and The Nutcracker, Bourne was inspired by a range of sources from the Brothers Grimm to Walt Disney, each having created magical versions of the classic fairy tale.
The story begins once upon a time as a barren king and queen finally welcome a daughter to the kingdom. Suitors from across the land offer the fair Princess Aurora roses in exchange for her hand in marriage and the plot begins to unfold. The chronology of the production is one of Bourne’s additions as the piece spans across over 100 years, ending at the present day.
Ashley Shaw’s performance as Princess Aurora is faultless as she portrays a curious young woman in this coming-of-age tale. There is a beautiful scene in which both Princess Aurora and Leo, the Royal Gamekeeper, performed by Chris Trenfield, depict the tenderness, excitement and apprehension of young love, and it is this theme that runs strongly throughout the ballet.
The scenery is stunning, with intricately detailed pieces which, teamed with the lovely costume design, add to the grandeur of the show. The orchestra’s performance is effortless, ably complementing the ethereal undertone of the ballet. The choreography itself transforms from an homage to Rose Adage to a gutsy experimentation of contemporary moves as the story shifts into the present day.
Some may say that this famous ballet does not need the addition of interpretation, but Bourne’s version takes an aging art form and creates a relatable and inspiring show for all generations to enjoy.
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