Review: Sleeping Beauty at The Kings Theatre, Southsea

The Oyster Band 

Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (170943-1)

Organiser says Wickham Festival’s latest outing was ‘its best yet’

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Sleeping Beauty is a winning formula

Take a cast of excellent professionals, the rousing music of Tchaikovsky, add more than 100 talented young local dancers and you have the mix that makes the English Youth Ballet’s production of Sleeping Beauty a real gem.

Refreshingly updated, this classic fairy tale of good overcoming evil, directed by Janet Lewis and choreographed by Dominic Marshall, starts in 1896 and moves to Aurora’s 16th birthday celebration, where she pricks her finger on a sewing needle (no spinning wheel here) to sleep for 100 years until rescued by Prince Alexander. Sleeping for 100 years brings her to 2012, so she is frozen in a cryogenic state, watched over by Cryonites in an Arctic cave.

This enchanting tale sees the protective Aunt Lilac, expressively danced by Monica Tapiador, overcome the evil of the malevolent presence of Aunt Carabosse portrayed with due menace by Steven Wheeler. Adele Robbins gives beautifully poignant performance as Aurora with Brenden Bratulic as her adoring Prince.

English Youth Ballet allows young dancers the opportunity to perform full-length classical ballet in a professional setting and the Kings Theatre stage lends itself perfectly to this, with every dancer enjoying their moment to shine throughout the ballet.

Long may it continue.