Bourne brings supremacy to classic tale

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The man who re-invented Swan Lake to international acclaim, having given The Nutcracker a modern twist, has completed the trio of Tchaikovsky’s ballet masterworks with a spectacular new production of Sleeping Beauty.

Following a season at London’s Sadler’s Wells which delighted audiences and critics alike, choreographer Matthew Bourne has taken it out on tour, arriving in Sheffield next weekend.

Bourne’s new interpretation of Sleeping Beauty begins the story at the christening of Princess Aurora in 1890, a time when fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination, before moving forward in time to the uptight Edwardian era and then again to the modern day.

The new scenario introduces several characters not seen in the classic ballet interpretations or the original fairy tale. The Royal Family is headed by King Benedict and Queen Eleanor. Princess Aurora’s romantic interest is not a Prince, but a royal gamekeeper, Leo. Representing the central forces of good and evil are Count Lilac and Dark Fairy Carabosse. In another innovation, Bourne has created the character of Caradoc, the sinister but charming son of Carabosse. Princess Aurora’s Fairy Godparents are named Ardor, Hiberna, Autumnus, Feral and Tantrum.

Sharing the central role of Aurora are Hannah Vassallo from New Adventures’ Edward Scissorhands and Nutcracker! who also played Baby in the West End production of Dirty Dancing and Ashley Shaw, who took the tile role in Cinderella and Nutcracker!

The leading role of Leo will be created by Dominic North who has appeared in more New Adventures productions than any other dancer and Christopher Trenfield, seen this year as Tony in Play Without Words.

It will feature Bourne’s regular design collaborators, Olivier Award-winners Lez Brotherston (set and costumes) and Paule Constable (lighting) with sound design by Paul Groothuis to take the audience into the heart of Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score in specially recorded surround sound.

Sleeping Beauty is at the Lyceum Theatre from Tuesday to Saturday.