Review | ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ is a bouquet for the senses

Glitter and glamour from costume to stage, The West Australian Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty is two hours of a magical performance, performed live with the West Australian Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the incomparable Jessica Gethin.

Javier Torres’ beautifully constructed choreography of the classic ballet is enthralling and delights the senses – bringing a bouquet of colour, movement, and grace.

The intricacies of the costumes, by Erika Turunen add texture, whimsy, and elegance to this ballet staple. Framed by the brilliant construction and design of Minna Wallenius, and the perfectly timed lighting of Nigel Levings (as well as their creative teams, respectively), the production of The Sleeping Beauty brings every aspect of this fairytale to life.

Torres’ redefines this classic by focusing the story on the duality of love and fear, as opposed to good and evil. The iconic Carabosse character, among many other fairy roles, were granted more stage time to be developed and explored, whilst other ‘less engaging’ scenes were stripped away for a modern audience.

Kiki Saito and Juan Carlos Osma take to the stage as frights and fancies, harmonising the role of Carabosse between them, flanked either side by ensemble bats that flood the stage.

Chihiro Nomura dazzles and delights audiences as Princess Aurora, truly encompassing the strength and dexterity of a professionally trained ballerina. Dotted throughout the production, Nomura is performing en pointe – a style of ballet known for its difficulty. Dotted throughout, Nomura is sometimes en pointe for more than two minutes, which was met with ruckus applause.

The ever-dazzling Oscar Valdes performed with strength, agility, and charm as Prince Desiré; joined by a small troupe of young performers who inject light-hearted joy and comedy into the Torres’ story. Truly a family affair, The Sleeping Beauty will inspire the newest generation of dancers.

Alexa Turzil personifies the elegance and whimsy of the Lilac Fairy, and is accompanied by Claire Voss and Candice Adea as Volante and Grazia respectively (also known as the Green and Orange Fairy’s), enchanting audiences from the prologue until the very end.

The second act follows the Prince as he awakens the Princess, triumphantly returning the Kingdom to its peace and prosperity. A nod to the origins of ballet plays through in the Court scene, as the Kingdom celebrates the demise of the Carabosse and true love’s kiss, with various pantomimes being conducted to entertain the nobility, to finish on a cavalcade of championship, dance, and music.

Many familiar tropes and visual cues will comfort audiences, especially those new to ballet. The performance is perfect for classical lovers, and children who have only been introduced to Disney’s version.

The West Australian Ballet has outdone themselves with their 2021 performance of The Sleeping Beauty, joining an expanding and electric repertoire to usher in their 2022 program.

Don’t sleep in this production, be sure to grab tickets today!

Joshua Haines

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