PREVIEW: Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty, Newcastle Theatre Royal

Picture by Jonas Persson

Picture by Jonas Persson

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The UK's most popular dance company, New Adventures, returns to Newcastle next week with Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty, a gothic tale for all ages.

Directed and choreographed by probably the 'hottest' choreographer in the world right now, Sir Matthew Bourne OBE, Sleeping Beauty is a revival of this new classic, giving audiences one more chance to see the final piece in the trio of Tchaikovsky masterpieces.

Picture by Jonas Persson

Picture by Jonas Persson

This ground-breaking production premiered in 2012 and was the fastest-selling production in the company’s history. It was created for New Adventures' 25th-birthday celebrations and completed Bourne’s trio of re-imagined Tchaikovsky ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with Nutcracker! and continued, most famously, in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake.

Perrault’s timeless fairy tale, about a young girl cursed to sleep for 100 years, was turned into a legendary ballet by Tchaikovsky and choreographer, Marius Petipa, in 1890. Bourne takes this date as his starting point, setting the Christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, in the year of the ballet’s first performance; the height of the Fin-de-Siècle period when fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination.

As Aurora grows into a young woman, we move forward in time to the more rigid, uptight Edwardian era; a mythical golden age of long summer afternoons, croquet on the lawn and new dance crazes. Years later, awakening from her century-long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day; a world more mysterious than any fairy story.

Returning to the central role of Aurora in this first revival is rising star Ashley Shaw. Ashley recently played Lana in the triumphant revival of The Car Man and also played Kim in Edward Scissorhands, Sugar in Nutcracker! and the title role in Cinderella. Cordelia Braithwaite made her debut with New Adventures in Swan Lake in 2013 and has since featured in this year’s revival of The Car Man, covering the role of Lana. Cordelia makes her debut as Aurora this season; her first principal role with New Adventures. The leading role of Leo will once again be played by Dominic North and Chris Trenfield who co-created the role in 2012.

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tuesday, April 5, to Saturday, April 16 - evenings, 7.30pm; Thursday matinee, 2pm; Saturday matinee, 2.30pm. Tickets cost from £17 and can be purchased at www.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the box office on 08448 11 21 21 (calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge).

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