Review Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty by Bethan Hooton

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4 Stars.

On the 26th of April, I was lucky enough to see Sleeping Beauty at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. I haven’t really seen a ballet performance, besides the odd Nutcracker performance at Christmas, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I was absolutely blown away, it was incredible.

I love the Disney interpretation of Sleeping Beauty, but I think I found my favourite in this performance. It followed a similar structure, but it was so unique. The fact that the Princess didn’t fall in love with the prince was a breath of fresh air. I also liked the fact that the gardener and the Princess were already in love. It can be sluggish sometimes if you watch two characters fall in love. My favourite part would be the fact that the evil queen died before the curse came true. It was the son who made sure that it happened, and I just found it so interesting. It was different. The story was in the gothic genre and as I have studied it, I loved watching what aspects of the gothic were in the performance. It was dark and eerie. You kept wondering what was going to happen next, even though you knew how it would end up.

Ballet is such a beautiful form of dance, each move had such grace and elegance to it. I could not take my eyes off of the performers. I liked how each character had a performance that was unique to them, so you could define between each of them. As ballet is silent, the performers had to express so many different emotions through their performances and they did not disappoint! You could feel the emotions they were feeling, especially the Queens when Sleeping Beauty was put to sleep. It was almost as if you could hear the words that they weren’t saying. They are all incredibly talented.

The set was simple and sweet. There was not too much on the stage at one time, but you still got the feeling of elegance within the castle, and you got the sense that this was a gothic love story. The costumes were just incredible! They were so detailed, and unique to everyone. Each Faery had a different costume so you knew which was which. They reflected the personalities of each character, which helped you understand more about the story and what was happening. They also reflected the gothic nature of the story and the fairytale elements.

I loved this production and it definitely has inspired me to go see more ballet. Whilst it was confusing to begin with, it wasn’t long until I understood what was going on. The different interpretations were really interesting to me as both a literature student and someone who loves going to the theatre. I was left speechless when it finished. I recommend people who love the story of sleeping beauty, ballet and theatre to go see it.

(Although I do recommend not taking someone under the age of 10 as there are parts which could be disturbing.)

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