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Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty Review | The Lowry | Manchester

Matthew Bourne is reintroducing audiences to Sleeping Beauty with a foray into the woods that reemerges as a layered modern gothic. Twisting the classic tale for his New Adventures production, but rooted in Tchaikovsky’s 1890 ballet, we dive into a surprisingly traditional retelling within a decadent Edwardian setting that places the story in the year the original ballet was released.


When the childless King (Danny Reubens) and Queen (Kayla Collymore) are helped by the dark fairy Carabosse (Paris Fitzpatrick) to give them a child, it doesn’t take long for the fickle fairy to dance up a storm of trouble as a reaction to their lack of gratitude. After quickly spinning their gift into a curse, the story steers a vengeful course whilst embellished with conveyor belt staging, embroidered fairy costumes and an adorable puppet baby.


Alternating between lifting audiences out of a silhouetted world of overpowering darkness and into a bright and loved-up second act. We follow our Prince Charming, Leo (Anrdew Monaghan) as he seduces Princess Aurora (Ashley Shaw) with his natural charms. Yet despite its gothic landscape, Bourne remoulds the story with modern twists that marries dance, humour and live orchestration for a memorable production.


There are plenty of intricate details between the finely tuned choreography and familiar storyline to capture the imagination of the Lowry audience. The familiar fairytale is given a superb scale with Lez Brotherston’s scenic sets sitting audience members squarely within the fantasy. Built around the production’s enticing costumes, whose heavy design of its winged ensemble fleshed out the rich visual design of the show's Edwardian styling. The magnificent misty set of the finale acts seemingly blends its large ensemble into the shadow of the forest for a colourless vision that plucks its figures straight out of a Grimm’s fairytale.


Bourne’s productions offer a relaxed atmosphere that allows you to sink into a beautifully entertaining show. Amongst a packed-out Lowry audience, his humour eases the grandeur of the genre and has the ability to entice and open new audiences to ballet.


Sleeping Beauty is not a new addition to the New Adventures repertoire, having first been released in 2012, and it may be the company's most traditional telling of any narrative. However, Bourne’s modern touches, expensive sets and signature wit are elements that spin this sumptuous production into a rewatchable, visual treat.

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Tickets are available via the Lowry link