Sleepy Beauty is a monumental work. It is 2 hours 50 mins long, it has a large cast and an extravagant sumptuous wardrobe! Yet underneath this Tchaikovsky masterpiece is a simple classic Russian fairy story which when done well has a universal appeal.
Birmingham Royal Ballet production does this very well. When the curtain rose at 7.30 there was a ‘Wow’ from the audience. It was a scene that is usually reserved for the climatic wedding at the end of the production, this high impact visual celebration of the birth of Princess Aurora is hugely impressive with many of the ‘Artists of BRB’ looking splendid, graceful and majestic.
This serene wonder continues until the aggrieved Fairy Carabosse (wonderfully played by Marion Tait) make an extraordinary entrance to vent her displeasure at not being invited. The Lilac Fairy, classically beautiful, contrasts with the back menacing dress of Carabosse and the evil verse good battle is set.
In the interval the years pass as quickly as the wine and the next party is Princess Aurora’s coming of age where she is being propositioned by four princess before the evil Carabosse poops the party by her cunning deceit and a long sleep follows.
The Lilac fairy having replaced sleep with death then 100 years later meets Prince Florimund leading a hunting party in the woods where the Aurora sleeps. She captivates him with a vision of Aurora’s beauty and elegances after which he is such a state of excitement he needs to meet the real Princess. This Sleeping Beauty is woken with his kiss and the dark forest, which has webbed its way around her, disappears along with the magic spell.
The Prince (Chi Cao) and Princess (Nao Sakuma) dance like they were made for each other. Their pas de deux is a celebration of ther love and the fairytale ending is more fabulous than the fairytale beginning.
Birmingham Royal Ballet have impressed us by presenting some of the best dancers and classic works over their 20 year history. Never before has such choreographed professionalism, combined with such a lavish production, been executed by some of the world’s best dancers, this is the best Sleeping Beauty. Well-done Peter Wright.