Friday, April 12, 2024

Review – Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty screened at the Corn Exchange

Sleeping Beauty – Matthew Bourne production

Sadler’s Wells performance

Screened at The Corn Exchange, Newbury

Sunday 2nd July 2023

What a fabulous, sumptuous delight that was – Matthew Bourne’s production of Sleeping Beauty, 100 minutes of eye-popping drama as love battles to triumph over evil!  Now celebrating a decade since its creation, the screening at Newbury’s Corn Exchange cinema of a Sadler’s Wells performance last Sunday 2nd July was a reminder of Mr Bourne’s ingenious creativity.  Here, the fairy story is recast to fit a modern world, where we really don’t expect a beautiful young woman to marry some random prince, who happens to steal a kiss without permission.  Instead, she is awoken by someone who has loved her for the hundred years of her slumber, enabled to wait all that time by being turned into an eternal spirit by the good fairy vampire, Count Lilac.

The principal characters were exactly as they should be.  A lithe and beautiful Ashley Shaw as Aurora, the sleeping beauty, expressing the definition of a free spirit, Ben Brown as the evil fairy Carabosse and then her son (the one who actually delivers the curse his mean mother intended) Caradoc dancing the personification of wickedness, and Paris Fitzpatrick oozing good and making it all happen as Count Lilac.  Even the baby Aurora is clever.  No static doll here!  Instead, she’s turned into a cute puppet, surrounded by exasperated and exhausted attendants, who is totally engaged with the whole cast, made possible by the hands of an expert puppeteer.  The “gothed-up” supporting cast, with their black eyes and dirty skirts, keep the story moving along at pace to the glorious sounds of Tchaikovsky’s original score.

For fans of Matthew Bourne – me, for one! – his signature Swan Lake is being screened at Corn Exchange Cinema in September – go to the website for details.  The Corn Exchange itself offered a nicely intimate cinema, with a super-big screen and very comfortable and spacious seats.  Of course we had an ice-cream… we were at the cinema!


Stella Coulthurst for Kennet Radio