Friday, 11 October 2013


Sir Peter Wright's The Sleeping Beauty is perhaps the most majestic of Birmingham Royal Ballet's programme. The production received a 2010 revival of the company's 1984 production and is once more captivating a home audience at Birmingham Hippodrome. 

The story is most simple, the famous tale of Princess Aurora who is cruelly tricked by Carabosse, pricking her finger on a spindle and falling into a deep sleep only to be woken by true love's kiss - Prince Florimund. 

Birmingham Royal Ballet doing nothing by halves and the grand staging by Philip Prowse is breathtaking. The entire production is gold and the grand prologue makes for one of best openings to a ballet I've seen. With the Royal Ballet Sinfonia masterfully in charge of Tchaikovsky's score every element of the evening is pure delight. 

Natasha Oughtred, Princess Aurora

At just under three hours this ballet is very long. There is little story left to tell with much of the score yet to play. Act III as with most ballets is a celebration and in this case filled with dance from Puss-in-Boots, Red Riding Hood and the Wolf and the Bluebird with Enchanted Princess. Everything is beautiful but the routines are reprised many times and when 10 o'clock is reached and there is still 25 minutes to go - you can get a little uncomfortable in your seat. 

Natasha Oughtred makes for the perfect princess - there are moments in which her skill is almost unbelievable. Her strength is incredible and stage presence delightful. She is joined by César Morales as Prince Florimund who is equally as present and a commanding male lead. Samara Downs is full of wicked expression as the evil fairy Carabosse. 

At 29 years old any production would tired and dated... not this. The Sleeping Beauty is an absolute treat, far more detailed and grandiose to the ice version currently touring but the productions are incomparable in their own right. 

Finale (Photograph by Bill Cooper)

This is likely to be the most lavish production you will see, an incredible effort and display of world class ballet from this Birmingham company - an honour to the city. Book here for tickets to The Sleeping Beauty at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 12 October 2013. 

Watch a clip of the Bluebird pas de deux solo below:

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