A Sleeping Beauty Tale

Last night we went to see The Northern Ballet's 'A Sleeping Beauty Tale', with music by Tchaikovsky. Obviously it was based upon the Sleeping Beauty fairytale. This is Tchaikovsky's ballet re-imagined as a story of the people of the red and blue planets. There are spacecraft (I kid you not) and at one point, laser guns.

I recognised several of the dancers from The Three Musketeers, but it didn't really have the same energy as that excellent production. The thing seemed to plod a little. There was an opening introductory speech, followed by several minutes of curtain down whilst they did things to scenery.

The main set seemed to be in a tunnel, the flats were cut circularly. The concentric rings tended to make me think 'Tha.. tha.. that... that's all, folks!', which I don't think was the intended effect.

The entrance of the main dancer was good, she was revealed to be inside a golden ball. The cover was removed to reveal a plastic sphere with her inside. I'm amazed she didn't cramp, it was a tiny ball! Her 'first steps' were well done too, quite comic, but she was soon pirouetting and leaping with everyone else.

The 'revamp' doesn't really work for me. Tchaikovsky? Spaceships? I'm not saying this as someone who's precious about the ballet, I'm not, I just didn't think it worked. There was one guy (from the 'red planet' who reminded me of a Babylon 5 Centauri.

Essentially, the ballet followed the same structure as the classic, but instead of a spinning wheel, the princess is stabbed by a red and put into a hibernation. In the meantime the planet is ransacked by reds. This continues until Aurora is roused.

The third act dragged on somewhat, it essentially consisted of the reds slaughtering the blues, a couple of blues looking for the beauty, the red-leader (make up your own Star Wars jokes) chasing them. There was a bit of dancing around and red-leader didn't make it (he didn't die by impacting the surface). The beauty (Aurora) and a blue got it together.

As is often the case with ballet, the curtain call went on for way too long.

After The Three Musketeers, there was a high bar to clear, and for me, this fell short.