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Matthew Bourne’s highly anticipated Sleeping Beauty arrives at Birmingham Hippodrome next month. We were lucky enough to see the production as it opened at London’s Sadlers Wells.

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty with Katrina Lyndon as Aurora. Photos by Johan Persson

In this spellbinding production, Matthew Bourne awakens an explosion of dark fantasy; a wondrous world of magical fairies and vampires. Blending together his trademark sense of surrealism with Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score by, it is an eruption of inner immorality interwoven with hope and beauty. And it’s nothing short of outstanding,

The audience is taken on a journey through the pages of one of the most classic of all fairy tales. But this time, the story is interpreted in a very different way. There’s plenty of good vs evil, as one would expect – a witch, a handsome prince and a beautiful princess – but it’s split into four diversely acts, with each one incorporating the darkness of Bourne’s work in such a clever way.

While Sleeping Beauty is a tale as old as time, this modern take truly tiptoes the line of what is real and what is fantasy; enveloping the audience in a Gothic adventure that is unlike any ballet I’ve ever seen. This, coupled with the grotesquely perfect set and costumes (designed by the talented Lez Brotherston), act as a barrier between dark sensuality and innocent femininity. Paule Constable establishes a visually captivating backdrop, using lighting design that absorbs us into Bourne’s fantastical mind.

As this performance progresses, we become entirely engrossed in the beautiful frenzy; the final dance acting as a crescendo to the villainy throughout the production as a whole. With a beautifully set wedding of darkness unfolding in front of your eyes, the striking colour imagery and harsh musical score perfectly tie the performance up in a much anticipated bow. Poetically powerful and strikingly Gothic, this sensational Sleeping Beauty is simply brilliant.