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Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty - New Wimbledon Theatre (Review)

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty

Review by David Munro

MATTHEW Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty (now on tour but currently at Wimbledon) is neither a romantic ballet nor a musical – it is a spectacular entertainment combining dance and mime, making an incredibly well-rounded piece of theatre.

He describes it as a “Gothic Romance”, a Victorian tale of good and evil, although I would have been grateful for a small synopsis: was the hero in the last act the gamekeeper lover from the first? Was the winged gentleman in a scarlet-lined frock coat good or evil? And was the bite he gave the gamekeeper at the first act curtain meant to ensure his immortality? Or was he just a Suarez fan?

Anyhow, none of this detracts from the overall enjoyment of the evening or the quite incredible dancing. This was no twirl and point choreography but rough and tough in the manner of the best American musicals.

Princess Aurora’s leap into her lover’s arms would be noteworthy if she only did it once but they were repeated, winding up my astonishment and admiration to an explosive level. This is not to say that the performers were not graceful – they were extremely but they gave the aura of energy and fitness one does not normally associate with the English ballet troupes.

I cannot single out any particular dancer as the parts were all doubled in the programme, all I will say is that to my unskilled eye they were faultless; apart from dancing, they could act and I particularly liked the villainous Caradoc who was the epitome of the moustache-twirling Victorian villain without the moustache.

I have had to review this on balletic terms as there was no singing or dialogue but I had the same sense of enjoyment and chills up the spine I get from a really first class musical and I am sure you will also. Oh by the way, there is a puppet baby which has to be seen to be believed – reminiscent of a theatre group The Black Theatre of Prague – which is a long past but treasured memory.

There are so many pleasures in this production that shouldn’t be missed, so grab a seat when it comes to a town near you if you can – you will not be sorry!

Sleeping Beauty: A Gothic romance
Scenario, Direction and Choreography – Mathew Bourne
Music by Tchaikovsky
Designer – Lez Brotherston
Lighting – Paule Constable
Sound – Paul Groothuis
Musical director – Brett Morris

CAST: Kerry Biggin – Daniel Colins – Pia Driver – Phil Jack Gardner – Sophia Hurdley – Tom Jackson Greaves – Nicole Cabera – Mari Kamata – Daisy May Kemp – Dominic Lamb – Kelly Lowenhoff – Kate Lyons – Christpher Marney – Adam Maskell – Leon Moran – Liam Mower – Luke Murphy – Dominic North – Edwin Ray – Ashley Shaw – Danny Reubens – Chris Trenfield – Hannah Vassallo – Joe Walkling.

Presented NewAdventure Productions

New Wimbledon Theatre, The Broadway, Wimbledon, London, SW19 1QG.
From Tuesday, April 23 to Saturday, April 27, 2013
Evenings: 7.30 pm/Matinees: Thurs & Sat 2.30pm
Box Office – 0870 060 6646