24-28 November 2015
Reviewed by Louise Turton
I travelled to The Lowry in Manchester with my 11 year old daughter to watch Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty with much anticipation as this was a new experience for both of us as we have never previously seen a ballet.
As with previous visits to The Lowry I chose to park within the multi-storey car park attached to the Lowry Outlet Mall and as we had arrived in plenty of time opted to use the system of a minimum spend of £5 within one of the shops to have the car park ticket validated for free for four hours parking.
Upon arriving at The Lowry we were greeted by a lovely lady who issued us with our tickets, programme and a cast list for that evening’s performance. We found our seats and waited eagerly for the show to begin.
At the beginning the curtain provided us with the backdrop to the story in writing informing us that the year was 1890, the King and Queen having been blessed with Princess Aurora have managed to anger Carabosse, The Dark Fairy, by not giving her the recognition she feels she deserves, and so the curtain rises and the ballet commences.
Act One begins with a young princess, cleverly portrayed with artful use of puppetry and with the fairies bestowing their wishes, interrupted by a vengeful Carabosse inflicting her revenge.
With Act Two we moved to 1911, and the coming of age for the princess. This is beautifully staged reflecting a glorious Edwardian summer garden scene reflecting perfectly the carefree princess enjoying her party alongside her guests – of course until the arrival of Caradoc, Carabosse’s son seeking to follow through his mother’s quest. Caradoc seals the fate of the princess with a rose and our princess falls into her slumber. At this point we discover that the King of the Fairies, Count Lilac is indeed a vampire fairy and bites the hero of the story Leo, the Royal Gamekeeper so he can be around in one hundred years.
During the interval myself and daughter were invited to the Circle Bar during which we were approached by the same lady who had greeted us on arrival. She took the time to chat to us both, asking us about our thoughts on the ballet and taking a real interest in our opinions. Unfortunately I didn’t catch her name but I would like to praise her on making us, especially my daughter feel important.
Continuing with the ballet and Act Three progressed to the present day where Princess Aurora has been asleep for the past hundred years. It is now time for Leo to wake her and after fighting his way through the forest awakens the princess with a kiss only to be captured by Caradoc’s henchmen, whereupon Caradoc plans to make Aurora his bride.
We follow to Act Four and the scene of the upcoming wedding. Leo, alongside Count Lilac come to the rescue of Aurora and the course of true love prevails. The ballet sequences between Princess Aurora (Ashley Shaw) and Leo (Chris Trenfield) throughout were truly spellbinding and took my breath away.
Featuring music by Tchaikovsky, this is a fantastic, contemporary ballet. With the clever twist of being Gothic it gives it a brilliant twist to the original tale that makes it unique, captivating and also humorous. The stage and costumes were cleverly done throughout the changing acts to reflect the time and age depicted. As we were both novices to the world of ballet I personally feel this was a fantastic place to start, as of course thanks to Disney we are all familiar with the story. A huge congratulations to the whole cast and crew who made this a truly memorable experience.
Tickets cost from £27 to £39 (includes £2 booking fee).
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty is at The Lowry until 28 November 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0161 848 1850.
Lowry Outlet, The Quays, Salford Quays, Salford, Manchester, M50 3AH | 0161 848 1850