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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke


🎭 The Sleeping Beauty 

📍 The Lyric, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2TR

🗓 Wednesday 21st March 2024



The incredible Birmingham Royal Ballet are back gracing the stage at Theatre Royal Plymouth this week with their sumptuous interpretation of beloved classic The Sleeping Beauty.

Featuring a timeless and wonderfully dramatic score by Tchaikovsky The Sleeping Beauty tells the story of Princess Aurora who is cursed by the evil Carabosse and sleeps for 100 years until she is awakened by the kiss of the handsome Prince Florimund.

This production is an absolute visual delight, with stunning sets and esquisite costumes. I felt wowed as soon as the curtain rose and revealed the opulent set, and I knew I was going to witness something rather special.

Birmingham Royal Ballet never fail to amaze me and the precision and skill of the dancers is second to none. In this 40th anniversary of Sir Peter Wright's first staging of the story they have really cemented the values of what traditional ballet is and should be.

The incredible unison by the dancers is mesmerising to watch and is a great testiment to the love of the craft that the performers obviously have.

The lighting design in this production is perfection and enhances the story wonderfully. I particularly enjoyed the stark change whenever Carabosse entered the stage, which just added to the drama of the gloriously wicked fairy, fantastically portrayed by Daria Stanciulescu.

Without exception the entire company are phenomenal from start to finish. What a privilege it is to get to witness awe-inspiring world class performers right here in Plymouth.

Céline Gittens is elegant as Princess Aurora and has some truly magical moments. She seems to go against the laws of nature during her interactions with potential suitors which has the audience transfixed.

The absolute standout performance for me came from Yasiel Hodelin Bello as Prince Florimund. He glides through the air with supreme artistry, reminiscent of an arrow leaving Robin Hood's bow! His core strength and athleticism were mesmerising and provided more than one 'wow' moment.

The only downside to this production for me was the storytelling itself. At times it seemed to lack a coherent narrative which was a shame, with some aspects of the story feeling perhaps a little drawn out. That being said I would watch it again in a heartbeat.

The performance however concluded with a bang and Act III was positively my favourite of the evening. The strength and energy were at stratospheric levels here with one dazzling performance after another.

During this section Shuailun Wu took my breath away as he danced the role of The Bluebird in a truly sublime performance.

The entire company more than deserved the rapturous applause they received. It's incredible to see the teamwork on diplay whenever I watch Birmingham Royal Ballet. They perform an absolute masterclass in how a company should work together. The trust and belief they show in each other is incomparable and has to be seen to be believed,

The Sleeping Beauty continues performances on The Lyric stage at Theatre Royal Plymouth until Saturday 23rd March. Tickets are available for all performances, although are limited. Click here to secure your seats before it's too late - you don't want to miss this.

Neill Kovacic-Clarke

All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer.

My ticket for this performance of The Sleeping Beauty was gifted by Theatre Royal Plymouth who invited me to watch the show in exchange for my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the content of my review or the star rating given.


Principals: Céline Gittens as Princess Aurora; Yasiel Hodelin Bello as Prince Florimund; Daria Stanciulescu as The Fairy Carabosse; Yu Kurihara as The Lilac Fairy; Jonathan Payn as King Florestan XXI; Tori Forsyth-Hecken as His Queen; Rory Mackay as Catalabutte

Prologue: Eilis Small as The Fairy of Beauty; Miles Gilliver as Her Cavalier; Tessa Hogge as The Fairy of Honour; Ryan Felix as Her Cavalier; Rachele Pizzillo as The Fairy of Modesty; Oscar Kempsey-Fagg as Her Cavalier; Reina Fuchigami as The Fairy of Song; Enrique Bejarano Vidal as Her Cavalier; Beatrice Parma as The Fairy of Temperament; Shuailun Wu as Her Cavalier; Lucy Waine as The Fairy of Joy; Mason King as Her Cavalier; Tom Hazelby, Gus Payne, Eric Pinto Cata, Javier Rojas, Hamish Scott and Alfie Shacklock as Carabosse Attendants; Olivia Chang Clarke, Rosanna Ely, Alisa Garkavenko, Hannah Martin, Matilde Rodrigues and Sophie Walters as Lilac Fairy Attendants

Act I: Gabriel Anderson, Haoliang Feng, Callum Findlay-White and Mason King as the Four Princes; Olivia Chang Clarke, Reina Fughigami, Alisa Garkavenko, Tessa Hogge, Hannah Martin and Rachele Pizzillo as Princess Aurora's Friends; Rosanna Ely, Eilis Small, Ava May Llewellyn, Matilde Rodrigues, Amelia Thompson, Lucy Waine, Enrique Bejarano Vidal, Ryan Felix, Miles Gilliver, Oscar Kempsey-Fagg, Alfie Shacklock and Shuailun Wu as Garland Dancers

Act II: Eilis Small as The Countess; Gus Payne as Gallison, the Prince's Aide

Act III: Rosanna Ely, Reina Fughigami, Gus Payne and Enrique Bejarano Vidal as the Pas de quatre Dancers; Louis Andreasen as Puss-in-Boots; Yuki Sugiura as the White Cat; Shuailun Wu as The Bluebird; Rachele Pizzillo as the Enchanted Princess; Tessa Hogge as Red Riding Hood; Miles Gilliver as the Wolf

All other roles are played by Artists of Birmingham Royal Ballet

RUN TIME (approx):

Prologue 33 minutes; Interval 15 minutes; Act I 29 minutes; Pause 3 minutes; Act II 28 minutes; Interval 15 minutes; Act III 40 minutes

The Theatre Royal Plymouth is the principle home of the performing arts in the South West and is the largest and most attended regional producing theatre in the country. Their mission is to develop and deepen people's engagement with pioneering creativity in Plymouth and the South West, delivering experiences that spark delight, expression and fulfilment. The venue offers three performance spaces of various sizes, the largest being The Lyric which accommodates the big touring productions. The Drum and The Lab are smaller, intimate spaces and often offer pioneering productions.


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