A Goth Ballet: Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

Vampire fairies and Sleeping Beauty will make your holidays bright this year.

Watch the full show here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/matthew-bournes-sleeping-beauty-full-episode/2127/

Available for viewing via PBS until April 25, 2018, it’s going to be a staple in my holiday movie collection for the next few years.

I love how much acting is a part of the show. Each character has their own distinction personality and the dancers definitely hold nothing back. I completely forget that world isn’t real and would happily watch it over and over again.

The interpretation of time is well thought out in this story. The utilization of vampires to show significant progression allows for an actual relationship to develop between Aurora and Leo before she falls under the curse. I like the gap between Aurora being asleep for centuries and Leo being awake, waiting, living throughout the ages. It seems to allow for Leo to become an actual character, a friend and guide through the new world as opposed to just being that random guy who woke the princess. Story wise I don’t think the explanation for the Evil Faerie wanting revenge was really clear without the text, nor is it clear how the parents asked for a child. I think it’s just accepted because of the popularity of Sleeping Beauty, but it does detract from the intensity of her son wanting to uphold his mother’s curse. I would’ve appreciated short transition scenes over text, considering how well the dancers preformed their characters. That second half though…I can’t comment without spoiling so you will have to watch.

Casting was on point, especially with the vampires. Particularly the soft features in Count Lilac’s face contrasted with the sharp lines of Caradoc’s, the youthfulness of Leo and the wide eyed look of Aurora. Aurora’s parents seemed a little…generic, but then again I suppose it isn’t their story.

Can we talk about the costumes though? Can we just sip coffee quietly and gaze hungrily unto the masterpiece this is?

It’s beautiful. It compliments both the expectation of faerie and vampire attire and I want it. I want skirts in every color. Especially Count Lilac’s (purple skirt on the right). The way the costumes move definitely allows for every flicker of personality to be expressed fully. I also liked the same thing about Aurora’s costume. I know what you’re think, plain white totally symbolic of purity and blah blah blah. But to me it seems also like a canvas because Aurora is wild spirit in this retelling. It has to be white as any other color would have drowned out that spirit and colored it as something else entirely. (yes, I said colored).

Brilliant shade of red is the only acceptable red.

There are some criticisms that it is too outside the box, that the inspiration loosely being TruBlood sullies the whole thing but I pay them no mind. The show didn’t change one or two things, it morphed the idea of Sleeping Beauty and I think that’s important for retellings. The shift wasn’t a casual “well this will be cute” concept thrown in, it was executed perfectly. So it shall stay. A lovely gothic ballet that there really aren’t enough of.

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Until next time,

Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.


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