Whilst not exactly a philistine the ballet is not my usual ‘go to’ entertainment of choice but I had a thoroughly enjoyable few hours at the Lowry watching the Birmingham Royal Ballet production of Sleeping Beauty.

If you have never been to watch a ballet this would be a good one to start with, as its simple storyline essentially of good versus evil means you are able to sit back and enjoy the beautiful spectacle in front of you rather than concentrating on the plot.

This particular production is in large part as close to the original choreography that came out of Russia during the 1918 revolution and continues to stand the test of time.

With the beautifully rich and vibrant costumes I was surprised to learn how most of those used are dating from the premiere in 1984 so are almost 35 years old.

The court stage sets are impressive and the layered ‘tangled forest’ scenes were very effective with clever lighting adding to the performance throughout.

And the ballet dancers … well they were just incredible, it is hard to contemplate how much strength is required to produce such delicacy of movement from both the male and female cast. An absolute delight to watch and whilst I am no dancer it wasn’t hard to see how the part of Aurora is recognised to be the most technically demanding of all the classical ballerina roles.

Carabosse (boo hiss!) is rather a scene stealer with her over the top entrance and Captain Jack Sparrow-like underworld henchmen.

Adding a humorous note to the wedding of the happy couple are the fairytale characters of puss in boots and partner along with the wolf and little red riding hood in the final act.

The icing on the cake in an outstanding production was the enduring Tchaikovsky score providing so much emotion to the visual delights on show. Altogether wonderful…

Words Debbie Barlow


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