Alhambra, Bradford 28 March 2013
I have mixed feelings about Matthew Bourne. He has won so many awards. His ballets are dramatic. His choreography spectacular. I have seen Cinderella and Nutcracker as well as Sleeping Beauty. Two of those performances were at the Alhambra and the third was at the Wells. On each occasion the crowd went wild. And the crowd is part of the ballet. And yet......
The trouble is that one can sometimes be too clever by half and Matthew Bourne is very, very clever. He knows how to raise a laugh from the audience with the puppet baby Aurora. And then to make them shiver as she climbs the curtain. Brilliant! But is it ballet?
Well in a sense yes. There is Tchaikovsky's score. The ballet opens with the Princess Aurora in her cradle in 1890. An homage to Petipa since that was the year of the première in St. Petersburg. It continues with her coming of age, awakening and wedding.
But there was no Puss in Boots. No Bluebird. No divertissements at all in fact. I missed them so much and I can't wait until I see them again which will probably be the Birmingham Royal Ballet's Beauty at The Lowry
No Lilac Fairy though there was a Count Lilac powerfully danced by Christopher Marney. There was a Carabosse but she died and left a son called Caradoc. There were suitors called Rupert and Aubrey, tourists and as for the wedding .........blah!.
But the dancing was spectacular which is why Bourne packs in an audience even in Bradford which can't be bad.
So why can't I be nicer to Matthew Bourne?