PRECIOUS LITTLE SLEEP
Winchester Theatre Royal
& Kings, Southsea
From Nureyev to Napoloen and from Fonteyn to Princess Di – they all have their place in the Wayne Sleep story, and doesn’t he make the most of such connections?
But before anyone accuses the diminutive dancer of being too big for his little shoes, it must be said he is the first to admit he is a shameless name-dropper.
In one of many video clips he introduces in the stage production telling his life story, he shows interviewer Ned Sherrin accusing him of just that. It is part of Sleep’s charm that he laughs at himself.
The show – to be seen at the Kings, Southsea, on Tuesday – inter-mingles video with live action involving the 62-year-old himself and two younger principals from Northern Ballet in David Paul Kierce and Keiko Amemori.
One highlight is a Charlie Chaplin park-bench routine involving all three. Another is a Torville-and-Dean Bolero take-off, and a third is Sleep’s solo tap hornpipe.
There is also the memory of the occasion at the Royal Ballet School when, he says, ‘a substance from my nose’ landed on the shoe of Dame Ninette de Valois.
Who but the cheeky little Sleep could have got away with that?
But the overall impression of this thoroughly engaging production is how versatile a performer he is.
Who else, for example, could have played Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in ballet, Benjamin Britten’s opera and the original Shakespeare play?
Not to be missed at the Kings.