So if you read my Yelp profile you will know that I met up with a new-to-London friend the other day for a cocktail to show her some trendy bars around Fitzrovia. If you don’t read my profile, Daniel P is my profile name so get on it!
Anyway at drinks I was chatting with another friend about our trip next week to see West Side Story at Sadler’s Wells and it got me thinking of another show I saw with her at this very theatre/ studio. A January blues treat to ourselves, we got some discounted tickets to see a rather special ballet. Now I love all forms of theatre and ballet is super underrated for entertainment; this one in particular was choreographed under Matthew Bourne, a truly unique director whose ballets always throw a modern, exciting twist on the traditional beauty of the dance. It also encompassed one of my childhood heroes in the form of Walt Disney (as an adult you realise how much of a creepy man he was but as a kid Disney is still that magical world that you want to run into and explore). Well, Disney combined with Bourne combined with discounts (since my friend knows the principal dancer of that particular company) meant WIN for us. So off we trotted to see Sleeping Beauty.
A couple of other things were in favour for this production. Yes I said Disney because that will always be my first thought when asked about Sleeping Beauty, but of course it was a rather spectacular ballet before good old Walt came along. In fact it was composed by arguably the most famous ballet score composer (and one of my all time favourite classical composers); Tchaikovsky also scored Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, 3 of the most famous ballets in existence today.
The other element in favour was the location; Sadler’s Wells is an amazing space to set this kind of more contemporary work, bringing ballet back into the public eye and away from the upper middle class echelons of an opera house or more traditional theatre. A perfect synonym with Matthew Bourne really.
So to recap – Sleeping Beauty (Disney and Tchaikovsky), Matthew Bourne & Sadler’s Wells. Really nothing could go wrong, could it? Will I’m sure it could, but this night was just perfect. It lifted those January blues away nicely with a joyous Xmas flourish. What to say about this production then; the ballet itself was spectacular – I know little about the technical elements of the dance but it was mesmerising, accompanied by beautiful scenery and some superb sequences. The twist to move the discovery of a sleeping Princess Aurora into the 21st century really gave the production a freshness that set it apart from the typical plot we’re all used to. The music (naturally) was exceptional, although I was REALLY disappointed to find that it was not being played by a live orchestra as you would expect. That is my only criticism for the whole thing and I quickly forgot even that as I was swept up into the story.
Ballet is not for everyone, but everyone should definitely give it a chance with a Matthew Bourne production!
Word of the day – panacea. Shout out to the flatmate there for that one 😉