Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – until 10 February 2024
Reviewed by Lorna Hancock
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s beautiful production was created by Sir Peter Wright, the genius behind the Company’s famous The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.
As to be expected the ballet follows the classic and well known tale. A beautiful princess falling into a deep sleep, after being cursed by a wicked fairy and pricking her finger, and the curse can only be broken by true love’s kiss. The Sleeping Beauty has been delighting audiences for well over a hundred years, adding entrancing ballet to this favourite childhood story. Set to Tchaikovsky’s inspiring music, magnificently played live by the acclaimed Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
I brought my ten year old aspiring ballerina along to help me with this review, and I have to say she was lost for words, in awe of the captivating dancing. We both said that Princess Aurora (Yu Kurihara) reminded us of a most beautiful music box ballerina. The delicate and perfect way she held the most difficult positions, was absolutely stunning to watch, whilst wearing the most exquisite tutu, we couldn’t take our eyes off of her.
I would like to add note aside of the performance, on the subject of taking children to a ballet. I have taken my daughters to a fair few ballets in the past, and I have never come across such a brilliant programme before. Apart from containing so much interesting information, and wonderful photos, I absolutely loved the way it had a simplified cartoon breakdown of the storyline for children. I’ve haven’t seen this before and thought the idea was genius!
Now returning to the performance itself, it is so hard to find the words to describe such a remarkable performance. The set design was simple yet superb and gave the grand illusion of splendour. The costume department have also done a fabulous job, the costumes were all stunning.
The company as a whole performed charmingly, from the flawless pointe work, to the traditional mime. We really loved the cleverly portrayed jollity between the hunting party, the bewitching dream sequence and we enjoyed discovering the characteristics of each fairy through their expressive dance.
A delightful performance leading up to a spectacle of a finale glittering with gold.