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Beautiful Nightmare: review of Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty for Quite Irregular.

Jem Bloomfield offered me the chance to present some thoughts for the Quite Irregular blog on Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty which aired recently on the BBC. I’m not sure what he thought he was in for, but I presented him with this:

So to begin: once upon a time[1], a sad king and queen couldn’t have a baby.  They ask an evil fairy, Carabosse, to help them[2].  They’re very happy for about five minutes[3].  Then while everyone’s back is turned some lovely fairies arrive to bless the little mite[4], including the most powerful good fairy, Count Lilac.  This dance sequence, choreographed in a contemporary style that involves a lot of seemingly uncontrolled movements like appearing to fall down and suddenly recovering, pits the fairies in opposition to the staid classical forms of the palace staff (maid, governess, footman) and the King and Queen.

Then the evil fairy gets the hump about something-or-other[5].  Her umbrage is so great that she decides to curse the child, Aurora[6].  Carabosse, whose movements appear to be restricted by a corset, is preceded by her two furiously mobile animalesque chariot-drivers.  In a dance of spite they demonstrate the future of their vengeance: a proto-Aurora, her sixteen-year-old face sheathed by a neutral mask[7], is whirled violently about the stage by Carabosse and her entourage, ultimately succumbing to a poisoned rose.  Luckily Count Lilac is there to put the kibosh on that plan[8]: he introduces a saviour for Aurora, the proto-palace gardener Leo[9].   He appears to an optimistic little ditty, blessed by the good fairies before driving off future obstacles in order to rescue his would-be bride with a kiss.  Count Lilac drives Carabosse off to die unhappily in exile[10].  Then there’s some confetti.  Though Count Lilac’s protection comes at a cost: there are those who wish to seek revenge for Carabosse’s defeat.

You can read the whole thing over at Quite Irregular. Enjoy, and do let me know what you thought.

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