The Sleeping Beauty, London Coliseum
Thursday 22 April 2010
Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty is a very courtly fairytale, packed with demanding pure dance and formal storytelling. The dancers of Birmingham Royal Ballet respond to both sides, with vivid mime and some easy, confident dancing.
If anything, Philip Prowse's designs are almost too courtly. He creates an opulent baroque world, from the bronzed obelisk of the Prologue to the mirrored panels and sunburst clouds of the last act. His strikingly cut costumes move beautifully – but there's a lot of black, even at the heroine's christening and wedding. For a tale of renewal and reawakening, Prowse isn't exactly spring-like, but he's sumptuously grand.
Peter Wright's production is firmly in the Royal Ballet tradition, drawing on the richest Beauty text in the world. He adds some tweaks. The Lilac Fairy becomes a mime role, a match for the wicked fairy Carabosse; I miss the role's dancing elements, but Andrea Tredinnick is a gracious presence. The woodland scenes are atmospheric.
Nao Sakuma has soft classical line and delicate phrasing, but she made a withdrawn Aurora. She looked alarmed by her own birthday party, as if all the compliments were too much for her. Sakuma gave a clear account of the challenging Rose Adagio, and gained warmth in the first-act solo.
Sakuma is best in the Vision scene, where she's supposed to be remote, but she also found more grandeur for the celebrations of the last act. Iain Mackay, her prince, is dancing with new tautness and authority. He has clean turns and a buoyant jump, while partnering Sakuma with gentle care.
The ballet's many soloist roles were cast from strength, with principals dancing the fairy variations. Ambra Vallo danced the second solo with sharp drive. Carol-Anne Millar was outstanding in the "finger" variation. There's a crackling energy to her changes of direction; she bends one way, then jumps explosively back again.
The grandest performance comes from Marion Tait's magnificent Carabosse. Left off the guest list for Aurora's christening, Tait's bad fairy turns up in a frozen rage, completely dignified and definitely scary. There's an icy disdain in the turn of her head, a furious force to her gestures. When she drops the list of invited guests, the silk scroll hurtles to the ground – falling unexpectedly fast, landing smack on the beat. Even gravity jumps to do this Carabosse's bidding.
To 24 April (0871 911 0200)
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
- 2 36-year-old skeleton of dead baby found inside Indian woman
- 3 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
- 4 Homer Simpson has taken the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he has
- 5 The 13 obscure UK laws you didn’t know you were breaking
Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love voted Greatest Guitar Riff of all time
Doctor Who lesbian kiss sparks Ofcom complaints over 'weird lesbian-lizard perv trip'
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Homer Simpson has taken the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he has
Beyonce MTV VMAs feminist performance: Twitter reacts to singer's 'double standard'
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Jeremy Clarkson is a cultural tumour and needs to be removed, says comedian Frankie Boyle
Air strikes? Talk of God? Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script after James Foley beheading
- < Previous
- Next >