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4.9 out of 5 stars
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4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 6 February 2014
I'm not a ballet fan, and I'm not a huge fan of Tchaikovsky's music either. But I happened to run into the Matthew Bourne version of The Sleeping Beauty on TV at Christmas and was instantly fascinated, to the extent that I wanted to watch the whole ballet and therefore bought the DVD. It didn't disappoint. It's the "Gothic" aspect, the evil characters especially, that make this a completely different experience from the usual ballet stuff.
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on 19 January 2014
Having seen literally dozens of performances of this classic and having been delighted with the new production at the Mariinski, I awaited this production with interest. It is typical of Matthew Bourne to never fail to give an exciting new interpretation of a ballet which can almost be rather a bore when done by a small company and yet here were a mere seventeen dancers keeping us on the edges of our seats. Magnificent.
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Matthew Bourne has come up trumps again in an enjoyable production of this classic ballet. . The two leads, Hannah Vassallo and Dominic North, both have a magnetic presence and show the movement to be an extension of Tchaikovsky's music. There is also a vampire theme mixed in with the good fairies which makes the whole thing bang up to date. The evil fairy is played by a man and carried on by the same dancer as the son a century later (this last part is set in the modern world with mobiles etc). There is also an extended sequence where the male dancers are shirtless with white short-ish trousers and long wigs like rock guitarists, which was very effective.
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We all have our likes and dislikes. For instance, I've always preferred action woman Rapunzel to passive damsel Sleeping Beauty. Whilst the former uses one of her outstanding attributes to fool her captor and solve her problem, the other passively accepts every inconvenience inflicted upon her, first passively allowing herself to be induced into a long sleep and then depending on someone else to get her out of her difficulty. Although the Bolshoi Ballet dances to a high standard, what is that beside the inspiration of creative innovation? Most of us have been through the experience of seeing something or other performed immaculately to the very letter of perfection but still came away unsatisfied. We are told endlessly such things as: Bolshoi is the best; they interpret Tchaikovsky better than any other ballet company. But do they? Is it not a question of: if you get a reputation for early rising, you can lie in bed till noon? 'Oh, it must be the right way to do it because the Bolshoi is doing it that way.' So parrot the pantless* victims coming away from yet another 'danced to the rulebook' performance.

Whether or not this Matthew Bourne production of Sleeping Beauty is in Gothic style is irrelevant simply because it's a brilliant, imaginatively choreographed masterpiece of the highest order that runs circles round the so called 'traditional', Bolshoi or otherwise, productions. For once the Sleeping Beauty takes on the character of a strong willed, Rapunzel type lady, here brilliantly danced by Hannah Vassallo, with a will of her own as we see when she persistently continues to reject other suitors, such as Lord Rupert (Daniel Collins), in favour of Leo, the royal gamekeeper, here attractively danced by Dominic North. Everyone involved in this production deserves the highest praise for a job well done.

Something else that impresses me with this performance is the definitive way in which the various fairy folk are portrayed as strong, focussed personalities devoid of 'soppy fairy' attributes. Then we have the delight of Sleeping Beauty, when she was a baby, crawling all over the place and up the curtains, all of it carefully choreographed. This is Matthew Bourne's style. 'Give me any movement and I'll choreograph it,' he seems to say. 'I'll even choreograph one of Rossini's laundry lists it there are still any of them left lying around.' We have here a delightfully innovative choreographer of the highest order who will attract more and more people to watch and enjoy ballet.

In a way it's the Swan Lake syndrome all over again. I used to get so fed up with people saying: 'O yes, you mean Swan Lake and The Nutcracker', when I mentioned the word 'ballet', that I vowed never to watch performances of these two works ever again. The very mention of 'sugar plum fairy' would send me running. Now we have Matthew Bourne, the man who can change all this. A man such as him who can choreograph the Sleeping Beauty character into being on a par with the Rapuntzel one has to be a genius and he has done just that. This is a truly wonderful performance, which I'm perfectly sure most ballet lovers will thoroughly enjoy. It's so inspiringly innovative as it re-interprets Tchaikovsky's score in scintillating fashion all along the line in this excellent Blu-Ray, no problems, recording.. Brilliant.

* pantless. They've been bored off them.
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on 29 January 2014
This is a superb and interesting telling of Tchaikovsky's ballet. Having seen this production on stage,I was very keen to buy this DVD
This is a Gothic telling of the story,and very enjoyable.As in Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake,he uses a great deal of Tchaikovsky's score.(In Swan Lake,he used more of the score than the Royal Ballet and,in Act 4 the Royal Ballet cuts part of the finale, which annoyed me and many others.) I strongly recommend this new DVD.
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on 18 January 2014
Mathew Bourne, not surprisingly, has done it again. Imagination both in the dance and the settings. A fast moving production that tealls an easy to follow story. I beg to be forgiven but I must single out Dominic North's dancing. inspirational and spellbinding.
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on 5 July 2014
Mr. Bourne's version of the last of the Tchaikovsky ballets does not disappoint. The royal family dances in the first half are terrific. Some longueurs in the second part (or bits which I don't get), but the 'wedding' and finale (Apotheosis) are superb.
There is also a documentary about the composition of the show which is worthwhile.
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on 8 March 2016
I saw this ballet live and was totally smitten. A wonderful Gothic Ballet, for a Gothic subject. I have watched the DVD several times now, and each time it transports me back to the theatre. Very enjoyable. Matthew Bourne is a genius. On the strength of this I bought other Matthew Bourne ballet DVDs
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on 13 March 2014
Having seen this live on the stage, I wanted to share the Experience with my family, and let me tell you that this DVD does not lose much of the impact of the live performance. It is a truly a fantastic story told well.
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on 30 January 2014
Matthew Bourne gave a lot of thought in deciding to bring the ballet up to the present day. I think you are either a Bourne lover but you can admire his interpretation. He has a wonderful sense of humour and I thought the opening scene of the ballet was brilliant. But I have to acknowledge being a tradtionalist and thought the final act lost out. The music was there but not all those wonderful characters.
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