The Sleeping Beauty - Birmingham Royal Ballet Review

The Sleeping Beauty - Birmingham Royal Ballet Review

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Posted 2024-02-22 by dpmfollow

Wed 21 Feb 2024 - Sat 02 Mar 2024


Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty is one of the gems of the company so it is wonderful to see it back on tour and being performed with such sparkle.

Created by Sir Peter Wright 40 years ago, this production calls on a company to highlight all of their skills from the technical mastery of the dancing to the use of mime and acting to tell the fairy tale story.

It also looks sumptuous, Philip Prowse’s designs and Mark Jonathan’s lighting, since adapted by Johnny Westall-Eyre, bathe the production in a golden glow which suffuses the set and costumes and its detail is so rich it is a feast for the eyes.



From the opening scene, a courtly ball to celebrate the birth of baby Aurora, to the closing moments, this time at the princess’s wedding, the production never ceases to delight.

Yu Kurihara gives us the character Aurora. This is a princess who is inquisitive, just a little bit cheeky and loves a party. But it is that enquiring nature which is her downfall when she discovers the spindle and pricks her finger.

Aurora is a technically demanding role and Kurihara shines in the pas de deux with Prince Florimund but she is a little tremulous in the Rose Adagio, one of the most notoriously difficult dances in the entire canon of ballet.

Lachlan Monaghan’s Floriumund is the perfect gentleman. Polite and courteous to all, he quickly loses his heart to Aurora and delivers the promised kiss which will wake her after 100 years. He performs the incredibly effort-full pas de deux seemingly effortlessly – and that is no mean feat with the complex choreography.

The villain of the piece, the Fairy Carabosse, is given plenty of gusto by Daria Stanciulescu. Towering over the drama, she stalks the stage attempting to heap misery on the party after she believes she has been snubbed. But this is the land of fairy tales and good has to triumph so Ellis Small’s Lilac Fairy may not look as dramatic as Carabosse but she can override the evil intents with her own magic.



There are also a couple of lovely humorous caricatures in Rory Mackay’s hapless Master of Ceremonies who is initially imperious as he orders the party but cowers before the angered Carabosse when he realizes he left her off the invitation list. And Kit Holder’s fawning servant is a highlight of the forest scene – not least when blindfolded, he grabs the Prince for a kiss.

This production calls on the entire company to pull out the stops as its story is quite thin compared to the divertissements which pack the three-hour performance and across the board the dancers shine in roles. Of particular mention are Enrique Bejarano Vidal and Sofia Linares in the energetic dance of the Bluebird and the Enchanted Princess.

One of its highlights is also Tchaikovsky’s stunning score and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, under the baton of Philip Ellis, ensures the music is performed faultlessly, picking up both its sweeping drama and its more intimate moments.

Sir Peter’s Sleeping Beauty is one of the founding rocks of BRB and seeing it on stage at Birmingham Hippodrome again reminds us of why. While it is important for the company to develop through new work, there is also a reason why a classic remains a classic.

Performed at Birmingham Hippodrome until 2 March, see here for more information and tickets.

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278655 - 2024-02-22 07:59:59

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