Brett Herriot Review

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Review:

“An Enchanting Gothic Masterpiece

***** 5 Stars

Britain’s most acclaimed and beloved choreographer  and director of modern dance, Sir Matthew Bourne completed his trilogy of Tchaikovsky ballet classics (following critically and popularly successful adaptations of Nutcracker and Swan Lake) with Sleeping Beauty in 2012 it too would garner plaudits and mass popular success for Bourne and his company New Adventures.

Now to mark its 10th anniversary Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty has been awoken and remounted for a new 2022 production which is calling at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre until April 15, and my word what an enchanting gothic masterpiece of modern dance it is!

Telling the timeless story of Princess Aurora (a beguilingly beautiful performance from Cordeila Braithwaite) who falls for the royal Game keeper Leo (a physically fluid and accomplished turn from Rory McLeod) the emotion is returned but before they can be a couple the dark fairy Carabosse having cast her spell over baby Aurora in 1890 which should have fated the princess to fall in love with her son Caradoc (both Carabosse and Caradoc are performed by the sublime Ben Brown). Caradoc seeks revenge for his mother’s death and to ensure the princess will be his, using a poisoned rose Aurora falls asleep for 100 years, but can Leo survive time to deliver true loves kiss? Thanks to the ensemble of mythical characters he spans the century to 2011 and makes his attempt to deliver said kiss that is the hallmark of one of the most beloved childhood stories of all time.

Every performance from the truly gifted ensemble company  in this wonderful production is faultless and testament to Bourne’s creative genius in his ability to blend classic ballet with modern dance that remains one of the greatest achievements in British Dance Theatre which has seen him become one of the most beloved choreographers of his generation. Sleeping Beauty adds to that legacy, it’s impossible to fault both choreography and direction in this dream like production which sets a terrific pace from the oft and never lets go until the final curtain falls.

Bourne promised a Gothic Romance and the company truly deliver that especially thanks to Lez Brotherston’s epic Set and Costume design which delivers true gothic charm on a scale that befits the west end as well as the large venues the production plays too around the UK. On the Festival Theatre stage the set knocks the eyes out with its grandeur that truly supports the overall production. Add to that Paule Constable dramatic and inspiring lighting design that spans the distance from moonlight to modern neon night club it’s a triumph.

While the sleeping beauty orchestra is pre recorded, (The original 2012 recording is used) thanks to Paul Groothuis outstanding sound design you feel the orchestra is live in the auditorium with you as it does its part to sweep you along on the most of beautiful of love stories.

Everything about Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty makes you believe you’re sitting at their London home of Sadler’s Wells such is the scale of the production.  A ticket regardless of price is worth every single penny for a seat this week at the Festival Theatre.

As the curtain fell to a well deserved standing ovation, New Adventures reminds us all of the power of dance to not only entertain but to genuinely move the audience and to reaffirm our belief in humanity and physicality to tell our stories and leaves us pondering what can Matthew Bourne and New adventures bring their magic too next?

For now rush to the festival theatre and grab those very last remaining tickets for an almost sold out production that truly delivers the most gothicly beautiful of stories.

Matthew Bourne’s Sleep Beauty, Festival Theatre Edinburgh, Runs until Saturday 15th April, for tickets go to: Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty (


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