Sunday, November 13
The Royal New Zealand Ballet's production of The Sleeping
Beauty was an elaborate display of grand set designs,
lavish costuming and beautifully classical dancing.
One of the greats, The Sleeping Beauty combines
innocence with the perils of life.
The newly refurbished Regent Theatre was almost full to
capacity and was the ideal place to watch a fairytale on a
Garry Harris' ambitious staging remained a welcomed focal
point throughout the performance, with seamless changes in
Reminiscent of Renaissance Italy, the set was stunning, but
must have proved difficult for the cast to get used to
dancing in a sometimes smaller stage.
The lighting was perfectly matched to reflect the "good"
world that Aurora lived in versus the sinister world of
If a career in dance means being dressed in lush velvets,
rich furs and 400m of net, then after this production I'm
sure there will be many children rushing to sign up.
Dancing to a live orchestra as opposed to a pre-recording is
infinitely better, and while the Southern Sinfonia provided a
wonderful accompaniment, there were a couple of moments where
timing may have been an issue.
Originally choreographed by Marius Petipa, Greg Horsman has
created a visual classical delight, while a pair of naughty
cats introduced comic elements.
There was a definite distinction between Act I and Act II.
Act I was filled with a sense of innocence and youth until
the arrival of Carabossse.
Maree White's portrayal of The Black Fairy as an almost
sultry temptress produced a beautiful contrast between that
and the whimsical charm of the Fairies.
A standout for me was Witt, The Green Fairy (Yang Liu). She
had a certain lightness and made the technically demanding
choreography seem effortless.
It must be said though, the comedy imparted by Shannon Dawson
(Catalabutte) and Lady Florine (Alayna Ng) had endeared the
hearts of the both the young and the older audience members.
The pas de deux in Scene IV, Aurora's Wedding, were
simply exquisite. The Bluebirds (Lucy Green and Medhi Angot)
were enchanting, but it was the pas de deux of
Princess Aurora and Prince Desire, in particular the series
of three fish dives, that had the audience captivated.
The Sleeping Beauty will forever be a well-loved
classic and it is hoped it won't take so long before it
returns to grace our stages again.
- Penny Neilson