Tag Archives: Sleeping Beauty

REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty – Platform, Easterhouse

Playwright Lewis Hetherington presents a refreshing new take on the traditional tale of Sleeping Beauty at Platform this Christmas. Addressing the fact that in the regular re-telling poor beauty is either off stage or in her bed sleeping throughout most of the production. This time our “B” (Yolanda Mitchell) is a feisty teenager with an independent spirit, confined by her loving dad Jimmy (Irene Allan) (who loves to dress up and impersonate Elvis) to the family mattress shop, but B longs for bigger things and a world outside the four walls. She sneaks out every night to the local woods with her trusty dog Rocket (Itxaso Moreno) looking for adventure. There is, of course, a curse, but there’s a twist in the tale that you’ll have to go along and find out.

This is an atmospheric, engaging fairy tale where gripping storytelling is at the front and centre of the production. There are moments of real darkness and light throughout. There are also plenty of the usual panto tropes to satisfy the traditionalists: an evil queen (Jo Freer) and her sidekick (Julia Nsimba); a spooky forest; magical creatures; puns a-plenty.  It’s chock-full of familiar hits with cleverly re-written lyrics all sung by the hugely talented, fine-voiced cast. The cast are strong and cohesive and drive the action along. The fantastic set by Claire Halleran is relatively simplistic but fills the stage perfectly and looks gorgeously creepy. The set is also complemented by creative lighting by Michaella Fee. Lewis Heatherington’s Sleeping Beauty delivers throughout and serves us up the much-wanted happy ending.

The economical running time (just over an hour) is perfect to keep the tiniest audience members fully engaged and the ticket prices are affordably priced for many. This is (slightly non-) traditional storytelling at its best. Platform in Easterhouse is a true gem in the East End and the constant, consistently highly quality of their productions deserve to be seen by as wide an audience as possible, Sleeping Beauty is no exception.

Runs until 23rd December – tickets here: Sleeping Beauty : Platform (platform-online.co.uk)

REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty – Cumbernauld Theatre

Masters of the art of traditional storytelling with a modern twist, Cumbernauld Theatre don’t disappoint in their staging of Sleeping Beauty.

This is not an all guns blazing, special effect driven, pop hit laden extravaganza, instead it is a beautifully told, traditional tale – a real pearl in a sea of crass commercialism.

Largely following the fairy tale as we know it; the wicked witch fails to secure an invite to Princess Aurora’s christening, she damns the princess to a life of isolation as the curse of sleep will come to the young lass if she ever receives a scratch. Despite the best efforts of her doting parents, the adventurous young tike inevitable falls foul of the curse and it takes true love and a pure heart to set her free.

This gentle production is the perfect introduction to “real” theatre for tinies, and shows that you don’t need pyrotechnics or pop hits to keep them enraptured. A heart-warming, sweet and wonderfully told tale.

Runs until 24 December 2015

REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Considered by many the most audience conscious of artists, credit must undoubtedly go to Matthew Bourne for his groundbreaking work, his originality of vision, and for the popularization of ballet among the masses. Indeed, the packed house at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal is a testament to that.

For this production Sleeping Beauty, Bourne returns to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete his trio of the composer’s ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with Nutcracker! and, most famously, in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake.

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Charles Perrault’s timeless fairy tale, about a young girl cursed to sleep for one hundred years, was turned into a legendary ballet by Tchaikovsky and choreographer Marius Petipa in 1890. Bourne takes this date as his starting point, setting the Christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, in the year of the ballet’s first performance; the height of the Fin-de-Siècle period when fairies, vampires and decadence fed the gothic imagination. Here, the traditional tale of good versus evil is turned on its head to create a supernaturally tinged, time-travelling love story.

The tone is set even before the curtain rises: the vine-covered title superimposed on the curtain, takes us instantly to the pages of a Grimm fairy tale. The music starts and the legend Once upon a time… appears to chuckles of recognition from the audience. We are then taken on a mesmerising journey in this Gothic re-telling of the familiar tale.

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Visually stunning, even more so than Bourne’s previous works, this is ballet as you want it to be – the sets and costumes in themselves evoking an emotional response from the audience, the beautiful, familiar music of Tchaikovsky, the perfect fairy-tale score. The choreography too is innovative, unlike traditional ballet companies, Bourne never feels constrained to stick to one particular style. Instead, each scene is imbued with a unique character and appropriate movement vocabulary. And to Bourne’s credit there is never an indulgent moment, every step sharply drives the plot.

This is a picture book perfect re-telling of the tale – full of visual delights and gasp-inducing moments and each member of this company is as talented and captivating as the other. New Adventures are the best of the best, and this is a production not to be missed. Sheer theatrical perfection. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Runs until 21 November 2015 | Images: Simon Annand/Johan Persson

*This review was originally written for the Reviews Hub at: http://www.thereviewshub.com/sleeping-beauty-theatre-royal-glasgow/

REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

FA847502_942longInnovation, originality and humour characterise Matthew Bourne’s ground-breaking work and credit indeed must go to Bourne for the popularisation of ballet amongst the masses. Indeed it has been said that he is: “the most audience conscious artist”. For this production Sleeping Beauty, Bourne returns to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete his trio of the composer’s ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with Nutcracker! and, most famously, in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake.

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Perrault’s timeless fairy tale, about a young girl cursed to sleep for one hundred years, was turned into a legendary ballet by Tchaikovsky and choreographer, Marius Petipa, in 1890. Bourne takes this date as his starting point, setting the Christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, in the year of the ballets first performance; the height of the Fin-de-Siecle period when fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination.

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As Aurora grows into a young woman, we move forwards in time to the more rigid Edwardian era; a mythical golden age of long Summer afternoons, croquet on the lawn and new dance crazes.

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Years later, awakening from her century long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day; a world more mysterious and wonderful than any fairy story.

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Bourne Sleeping Beauty, Hannah Vassallo, c Simon_Annand

This is a gothic fairy tale for all ages; the traditional tale of good versus evil and rebirth is turned upside-down, creating a supernatural love story across the decades.

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The tone is set even before the curtain rises: the rose vine covered title superimposed in the proscenium arch, takes us instantly to the pages of a Grimm fairy tale. The music starts and the legend Once upon a time… appears to chuckles of happy recognition from the audience. We are then taken on a mesmerising journey in this Gothic re-telling of the familiar tale.

sa-sleeping-beauty-company-underwear-lines_1000Visually stunning, much more so than Bourne’s previous works, this is ballet as you want it to be – the sets and costumes in themselves evoking an emotional response from the audience. The beautiful, and often familiar music of Tchaikovsky the perfect fairy tale score. The choreography too is innovative, unlike traditional ballet companies, Bourne never feels constrained to stick to one particular style, instead, each scene is imbued with its own unique character and appropriate movement vocabulary. And to Bourne’s credit there is never an indulgent moment, every step sharply drives the plot.  All this in turn captivates the onlooker and keeps their attention to such an extent that the time goes by in a flash.

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This is a picture book perfect re-telling of the tale – full of visual delights and gasp-inducing moments and each member of this company is as talented and captivating as the other. New Adventures are the best of the best and this is a production not to be missed. I can’t recommend it highly enough.