Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty
On Opening Night for “Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty” at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, Bourne said he hadn’t seen “The Twilight Saga,” but before re-imagining his new Sleeping Beauty with his time-traveling troupe of vampires, he’d taken inspiration from “True Blood” and “Interview with the Vampire.”
Bourne’s brilliant production, subtitled “A Gothic Romance,” began in the first act’s 19th century palace setting, moved into the second act’s early 20th century tennis party and continued into the third act’s eerie modern day dance club, except that this one had vampires cavorting throughout.
In Bourne’s re-telling of the classic fairy tale, set to a timeless “Tchiakovsky” score, the time-tripping proved no problem for the key players, since Bourne’s portrayed them as the undead.
That the Nov. 21 Opening Night audience appreciated this unconventional version came clear during the curtain calls. More than just jumping to their feet for a Standing O, the enthusiastic crowd shouted and whistled as the cast members took their bows. Among others onstage were Hannah Vassallo as Princess Aurora; Dominic North as her love interest Leo; Adam Maskelle, both as her undead suitor Caradoc and his mother Carabosse, the dark fairy.
(Check the gallery below for photos of the party and production.)
In her effusive praise for Bourne’s production, Allen called the ballet, “imaginative,” “inventive” and “unexpected,” pointing to such elements as the petulant puppet that climbed the curtains as baby Aurora. (An imaginative choreographer herself, Allen will be staging her own “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” Dec. 14 and 15 at UCLA Royce Hall.)
Richard Sherman, composer of the “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” score for “Mary Poppins,” called Bourne a “choreographic genius,” having worked with him on the Broadway version of the musical.
Not surprisingly, given such accolades, Bourne said he always enjoys coming to Los Angeles.
And clearly the brilliant choreographer keeps up with the times, and not just by incorporating vampires into the classic story ballet. Bourne kindly responded to my pre-performance @SocietyNewsLA tweet with a “@Mattbourne1 Thank you Ellen. Have a wonderful evening.”
Bourne is world-famous for re-envisioning “Edward Scissorhands” as a ballet; turning “La Sylphide” into a “Highland Fling;” and staging “Swan Lake” with an all-male cast. As admirers of Bourne, My husband and I have seen his productions in London and Paris, and of course, in Los Angeles, whenever this city has had the good fortune to have them here.
Others in the Opening Night crowd included the two-time Tony Award-winning Sutton Foster, Jane Kaczmarek of “Malcolm in the Middle,” dance philanthropist Glorya Kaufman, CTG artistic director Michael Ritchie, CTG founding artistic director Gordon Davidson and Judi Davidson.
A New Adventures Production, “Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty” is presented by CTG and Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center.
“Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty” continues through Dec. 1, 2013. Call (213) 972-4400 or click here for further information.
Top photo: From left, director/ choreographer Matthew Bourne and Sleeping Beauty stars Dominic North and Hannah Vassallo at the post-performance reception for “Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty” at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre (Photo by Ryan Miller/ Capture Imaging)
Second photo: Jane Kaczmarek, left, of “Malcolm in the Middle” and her daughter, Mary Kaczmarek, arrive for Opening Night of “Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty” at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre (Photo by Ryan Miller/ Capture Imaging)
Third photo: From left, Matthew Bourne and actor/ dancer/ choreographer Debbie Allen at “Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty” at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre (Photo by Ryan Miller/ Capture Imaging)
Fourth photo: Time-traveling vampires in “Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty,” pictured here in the London production, now appearing at the Center Theatre Group/ Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles (Photo by Simon Annand, courtesy of CTG)
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Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty
Published Nov. 22, 2013 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA