Sleeping Beauty for the age of Twilight and True Blood

Dec 11, 2012

Sadler's Wells delivers a 'wonderfully deviant' twist on the well-loved fairytale ballet

What you need to know
A new production Sleeping Beauty by the celebrated British choreographer Matthew Bourne has opened at Sadler's Wells. Bourne is best known for his award-winning productions of the Tchaikovsky ballets Nutcracker! and Swan Lake.

Sleeping Beauty, first staged in 1890, also features the music of Russian composer Tchaikovsky. Bourne updates the fairytale about a young girl cursed to sleep for 100 years until she is awoken by love, setting some of the action in modern times and adding a vampire element.

The production is designed by Lez Brotherson and performed by the New Adventures dance company. Hannah Vassallo appears as 'sleeping beauty' princess Aurora and Dominic North as Leo, her loyal gamekeeper and suitor. Runs until 26 January.

What the critics like
This is a much-loved fairytale reborn as a Gothic vampire drama, says Debra Craine in The Times. In this exuberant reimagining Dominic North is "a tender, loveable Leo" and Hannah Vassallo "a feisty, free-spirited Aurora". Sure to resonate with audiences in the age of Twilight and True Blood".

Bourne and Brotherston have found "wonderfully deviant" new ways of telling their material, says Judith Mackrell in The Guardian. With new dramatic twists and captivating puppetry, Bourne's "clever Gothic rewrite" triumphantly creates something "beguiling and true".

Bourne has great fun with time shifts and story tweaks, says Jenny Gilbert in The Independent. There's even a surprise royal baby portrayed by "such a clever rod puppet that you'll believe it's alive".

What they don't like
On paper the Twilight twist sounds great, says Lyndsey Winship in the Evening Standard. But there's something about the surprise turn of events that just doesn't work. "It's a masterclass of style over substance."

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