Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty reviews – Sadler’s Wells

Reviews are in for Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty at Sadler’s Wells in London.

Bourne’s gothic re-imagining of Tchaikovsky’s classic storybook ballet returns to London this Christmas, celebrating 10 years since its premiere at Sadler’s Wells, when it became the fastest selling production in the company’s history.

Ashley Shaw plays the central role of ‘Princess Aurora’ along with Katrina Lyndon making her debut in the role. ‘Leo’ is played by Andrew Monaghan, with Stephen Murray and Rory Macleod

The Dark Fairy, ‘Carabosse’ and his son, ‘Caradoc’ are played by Paris Fitzpatrick, Jackson Fisch and Ben Brown, and the vampiric Good Fairy, ‘Count Lilac’, is played by Paris Fitzpatrick along with Dominic North and Christopher Thomas.

Sleeping Beauty is directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, working with his regular collaborators and New Adventures Associate Artists Lez Brotherston (Set and Costumes), Paule Constable (Lighting) and Paul Groothuis(Sound Design).

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty is playing a limited Christmas season at Sadler’s Wells until to 15 January 2023.

Average Critics Rating

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty reviews

The Guardian

"Crammed with the choreographer’s trademark wit and OTT theatrics, this is an irresistible spin on the story"

"You just have to go with the OTT theatrics. Bourne crams a whole load of his favourite things into this show: the fairytale twist, period details, farce and comedy of manners, visual humour (there’s a puppet baby that gets the biggest laughs) and Lez Brotherston’s extravagant designs."

"Strange as it sounds, you don’t really go to a Bourne show for the dancing – not for the individual steps that is, more the complete effect. It’s about playing to the gods, rather than the nuances of inner lives."

Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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The Times

"Matthew Bourne’s zany rewrite is still a riot"

"Matthew Bourne’s zany rewrite of The Sleeping Beauty — that most luminous of 19th-century classical ballets — was never intended to please the purists."

"Bourne’s robust choreography, while referencing the classics like mad (Giselle in particular), relies more on dramatic exposition than historic stylistic imperatives, and isn’t always pegged to the grandeur of Tchaikovsky’s music."

Debra Craine, The Times
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The Evening Standard

"An entertaining ballet with a vampire’s bite"

"Bourne’s regular creative team offer lavish delights, and Paule Constable’s lighting gives the drama maximum intensity. The cast give it full-bodied commitment and pert detail: especially eye-catching are Shoko Ito’s harried nanny and Cameron Flynn’s chinless wonder of a suitor. But the way Bourne forces pieces of plot together doesn’t feel gorgeously inevitable, and this show can’t offer the emotional wallop of his best work, despite the sumptuous and ingenious ride."

David Jays, The Evening Standard
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The Stage

"Bourne can do better"

"Visually gorgeous but overheated spiced-up classic"

"At its best, Bourne’s choreography has a refreshingly brisk, no-nonsense vigour, always pushing the narrative forward. In this show, however, that becomes exhausting – maybe because there is so little narrative to push. Where are the breathing spaces? The moments of beauty for beauty’s sake? Thank goodness for Shaw’s floating delicacy and gentle precision, like a cool glass of water in a seriously overheated production, which after the interval boils over completely. "

Siobhan Murphy, The Stage
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The Telegraph

"Matthew Bourne’s vamped-up Sleeping Beauty makes a lively return"

"If not quite top-flight Bourne, this revived 2012 production still has drama, purpose – and divinely undead dancers"

"The characters err towards the one-dimensional; the steps are on occasion outgunned by the score; and the many electric walkways, conveying weightlessness, smack of Britain’s Got Talent gimmickry and make you appreciate all the more ballet dancers’ ability to generate the same illusion armed only with pointe shoes and hard-won technique."

Mark Monahan, The Telegraph
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👤 📅8 December 2022
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📷 Main photo: Matthew Bournes Sleeping Beauty - New Adventures Dancers, Paris Fitzpatrick and Ashley Shaw. Photo by Johan Persson.

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