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Sleeping Beauty: A Gothic Romance

Renowned for his ability to take classic, well known stories and give them his own unique alternative twist, Matthew Bourne is by far one of the most astonishing minds in the world of Theatre that you could ever come across.

Having already brought the likes of Romeo & Juliet to the Theatre Royal in Newcastle, here at DARKUS we were excited to hear that the New Adventures team would be back in the region for Bourne’s latest masterpiece - Sleeping Beauty: A Gothic Romance. As a fan of the arts, especially when Bourne is involved, I for one, could not wait to go along to the show on the 18th April 2023.

The first thing that caught my attention, was not the performers themselves, but the sheer extravagance and beauty of the set design, which just added to the character and automatically allows you as an audience member to be transported into an alternative reality. Once we catch the first glimpses of the cast themselves whom enter the stage with such confidence, this only further enhances the enjoyable viewing experience. You are not just watching any show, you are drawn in and captivated as your eyes are fixed on the masterpiece that is unfolding in front of you.

For anyone already familiar with the story of Sleeping Beauty, you will know that the story revolves around the life of Aurora, who falls victim to the the fate of Maleficent's curse, and only true loves kiss able to wake her, or at least one version the likes of Disney will have you believe. Matthew Bourne however takes elements of that and infuses them with his own alternative reality and adaptation, which helps gives a well known story such as Sleeping Beauty a modern day twist.

The obvious difference with this retelling of a well known story is the absence of words, but the introduction of dance, where well planned choreography set to the music of Russian Composer Tchaikovsky help to elevate the experience even more. Just watching you can’t help but feel overcome with sheer admiration and love, as each detail, and each scene, and energy of each character makes your heart beat faster and faster.

Without giving too much away, what really impressed me was how Matthew Bourne and the New Adventures team have incorporated subtle nods to the modern day, with our prince charming coming to the rescue 100 years later. Without a doubt, as much as I love coming to the Theatre Royal over the years, Sleeping Beauty: A Gothic Romance is up there as one of the best productions I have ever witnessed, which is echoed by the fact that by the end we did not just have applause but a standing ovation.

Sleeping Beauty: A Gothic Romance is here in the North East for two weeks as part of its wide UK tour, and with the show being hosted at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle until 29th April 2023, I cannot emphasise enough just how exceptional it is, and certainly not one to be missed! The making of good production from an audience perspective is something which excites you every time you reflect on the memory, and also something which moves and inspires you to delve into the world of the Arts even more.

Matthew Bourne and New Adventures do exactly that to the point that you don’t just celebrate the moment but you have even more of a hunger to explore the fairytale dimension through the gaze of Matthew Bourne even more. So whatever you do this week, make sure that Sleeping Beauty: A Gothic Romance is at the top of your agenda!

Intrigued to find out more?

Be sure to also check out our interview with cast members Katrina Lyndon (Aurora) & Dominic North (Count Lilac).

Article By Thushara S. Chandrasiri

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