Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a revival tour and the dreamy dance–theatre production wakes up in Milton Keynes this month.
As one of the greatest storytellers currently working in dance, Sir Matthew Bourne achieves incredible levels of box office popularity with ingenious interpretations of much-loved classics from the ballet repertoire and popular culture. His Sleeping Beauty turns Charles Perrault’s magical tale of good versus evil into a gripping gothic romance. There are vampires and dark fairies, the princess falls in love before she falls asleep and post-slumber events take place in contemporary society.
Danced by his dynamic company, New Adventures, to Tchaikovsky’s ravishing score, Bourne’s time-travelling, supernatural love story is a must-see theatrical treat. Enter the wondrous world his characters inhabit and be swept away by a fairy tale with a difference.
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty became the fastest-selling production in New Adventures’ history when it premiered at Sadler’s Wells during the 2012 Christmas season. It then went on to enchant audiences nationally and internationally. Sleeping Beauty completes Bourne’s trilogy of radically reimagined Tchaikovsky masterpieces, which started with Nutcracker! in 1992 and continued with Swan Lake in 1995.
The New Adventures dancers have roused Princess Aurora from her beauty sleep for the third time for this revival. The production, which first visited Milton Keynes Theatre in 2013 and returned in 2016, will tour to sixteen venues. Theatregoers across the country are counting down the sleeps!
Having dozed throughout much of the last decade, Aurora will have missed out on a lot of the success New Adventures has enjoyed. Fortunately, the company has compiled a short summary to bring her up to date.
In the last ten years, New Adventures has: toured to thirty-six different UK cities, toured to twenty-five different international cities in twelve countries, premiered six shows, revived twelve shows and filmed seven shows. Plus, Matthew Bourne received a knighthood, associate artistic director Etta Murfitt received an MBE for services to dance and group managing director Robert Noble received an OBE for services to performing arts.
Whether you are an avid fan of Matthew Bourne’s reworkings of ballets or an intrigued newcomer, you won’t want to miss his Sleeping Beauty. If you snooze, you lose – make sure you get your ticket booked.
Running time: Approximately 2 hours, including one 20-minute interval.
Children under five will not be admitted. Some scenes may not be suitable for very young children.
Audio-described performance and touch tour: Saturday matinee.
*Production photography by Johan Persson.
This preview is also featured on Total MK.
Update 18 January 2023: Read my review of Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty at Milton Keynes Theatre.
Georgina Butler is an editor, a dance writer and a ballet teacher.