The other night I went to Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty. You may remember him. He’s the choreographer who turned Swan Lake upside down by having males in the lead roles.
Bourne has done it again with his production of Sleeping Beauty. He has taken the traditional Grimm’s Fairy Tale and re-interpreted it afresh. This version of Sleeping Beauty takes place initially during Victorian times and ends up in modern times with a definite Goth twist.
The evil queen, Carabosse is now a sorceress through whose dark arts a royal couple, previously childless, have been presented with a daughter, Aurora. They have neglected to reward their benefactor, so she is looking for revenge. Aurora grows up to be a wilful child and falls in love with Leo the games keeper. But her eye is also caught by the darkly sinister Caradoc, the son of Carabosse, by now deceased.
Caradoc ensures that his mother’s curse comes true. Aurora and the court subside into a century of sleep, leaving Leo with the prospect of growing old without her. However, he is granted immortality by becoming a vampire by one of the good fairies. Aurora is awakened a century later, and the story continues to unroll in the present day, with the stage set for battle between Caradoc and the now supernaturally gifted Leo for her hand.
The production is a marvel. The dancers, the design of the sets, the costumes all add to the wonder of Bourne’s fertile imagination – his ability to take classics and breathe novel interpretations of them.
A challenge to us all in the creative industries – are you setting the bar high enough to be excellent?