Sleeping Beauty

Moscow Ballet – La Classique

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

****

SLEEPING Beauty is magnificent, the dancing unbelievable and each half of the programme includes some great vignettes from the principal dancers – with the Lilac Fairy (Mayya Zaripova) and Princess Aurora (Ekaterina Shalyapina) featuring strongly.

Prince Florimund (Aleksandr Tarasov) was amazing, particularly a move where he picked up his partner, slotted her under his arm resting her on his hip and then raised both of his arms above his head. Well, don’t try it at home, folks!

Longed-for baby Princess Aurora is loved and protected, and at her christening the good fairies give her all the gifts she needs but Carabosse (Andrey Shalin - brilliant), the uninvited bad fairy, has a cruel curse for her.

She will prick her finger on a needle at 16 and die. The Lilac Fairy ameliorates matters by reducing the death sentence to a century of sleep, to be woken by a kiss from her one true love.

All needles are banished but, at Aurora’s 16th birthday party, with a range of suitors at her heels, an old woman appears, Carabosse in disguise, with a bunch of flowers and a needle secreted within. As decreed, the palace and everyone in it sleeps until Aurora’s sleep passes and the celebrations of a great wedding feast get underway.

The wedding feast includes some well-known pantomime characters including Bluebird and Florine, Puss in Boots and White Cat (who steal it every time with their arbitrary cruelty), and Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf. The set is sumptuous throughout and there is plenty to entertain all the family. The audience range was truly intergenerational and it’s good to see the little ballet stars of the future in the auditorium too.

I have seen the same company perform this programme and Swan Lake at the Belgrade, and the dancing is consistently high quality. If I have a quibble it’s that the recorded music was far too loud: no one would sleep for a minute through that. Turn it down please. Directed by Elik Melikov to 21-03-15

Jane Howard

20-03-15 

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