Sleeping Beauty

Playhouse Theatre (Queensland Ballet)


This simple story of the triumph of good over evil teaches and delights us with the elemental force of dance. It makes a welcome return, as it is seven years since Brisbane audiences have seen Queensland Ballets Sleeping Beauty.

The title role of Aurora, the sleeping beauty, is danced magnificently by Rachael Walsh. She expresses the vulnerability of one almost killed but instead put to sleep for 100 years. She also expresses the innocence, joy and exuberance of a young woman in love.

The Evil Fairy, Carabosse, is danced with sinister authority by Iona Marques. She displays a demonic force on stage, sending the forces of good into a spin.

Each time the evil fairy is on the brink of victory the Lilac Fairy (Claire Morehen ) intervenes to weave her magic spell and rescue the good guys from disaster. Who does not need a Lilac Fairy in their lives? Morehen elegantly maintains the dramatic tension in her contest with the Evil Fairy Carobosse, setting the stage for Auroras wonderful awakening. Rachael Walsh continues to delight audiences with her fluid grace and sensitive character portrayals.

Prince Dir(Alex Wagner) cannot believe his luck. He is wandering alone in the forest when the Lilac Fairy appears and shows the Prince the vision of Aurora and her friends then guides him through the forest to the castle. He awakens Aurora with a kiss, declares his love and asks for her hand in marriage.

Much of Act 3 is then taken up with the merry dance of wedding festivities. The celebrated Bluebird Pas De Deux is a showpiece, danced with avian flourish by Teri Crilly and Yu Hui.

The story of the Sleeping Beauty like that of other classical ballets, could easily be seen as corny; yet somehow choreographer Francois Klaus has rediscovered the earthiness behind the medieval Scandinavian saga of Brynhild, a goddess condemned to marry a mortal the story on which The Sleeping Beauty is based. We are more used to the early 19th Century version of the Brothers Grimm.

There are some spooky moments in the ballet as, for example, when the Evil Fairy Carabosse (Iona Marques) disguised as a suitor dances with Aurora (Rachael Walsh). The hypnotic interplay between the two is frightening, leading to Auroras finger being pricked by a rose thorn and a century of sleep.

Tchaikovskys familiar score is played very finely by the Queensland Orchestra under Principal Guest Conductor, Andrew Mogrelia.

Costume Designer, Noelene Hill has produced many new costumes for this years work, while the lighting design by David Walters captures many memorable moments with a deft use of shade and highlight.

Choreography by Franis Klaus after Petipa.

Music by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky performed by the Queensland Orchestra with Principal Guest Conductor, Andrew Mogrelia.

Playing 4 to 19 December 2009.

Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes including 20 minute interval.

— Matt Foley
(Performance seen: Thu 3rd December 2009)