Review: Amy Ryan

With elegance, precision and a whole wardrobe of stunning costumes, the Russian State Ballet of Siberia put on a spectacular performance at Darlington Civic Theatre of one of the most loved and popular tales of fairytale folklore.

Known around the world for their breathtaking performances, both ballet and orchestra brought a story of love, evil and magic to life, complete with the beautiful tones of Tchaikovsky that was as magical as the fairy tale itself.

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There was certainly excitement and a buzz in the theatre as the audience waited to see some of Russia’s finest dancers.

Perfectly choreographed, the movement on stage was smooth. The stage burst with life and movement and the physical prowess of the dancers was clear. From solo acts to ‘corps de ballet’, the audience saw jumps, lifts, twirls and leg kicking by the performers who lost none of their grace and was truly impressive.

The fairy tale element of the production was heightened all the more when the audience were treated to solo acts by Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella. The routine and cat costumes of the Puss in Boots performance in particular was fantastic and earned a few laughs from the audience.

But it was Princess Aurora and her Prince who were the stars of the show, and it was a delight to watch them perform together. Elena Pogorelaya portrayed the innocence and naivety of the 16 year old Princess Aurora, while Kirill Bulychev’s Prince Desire had all the hallmarks of a classic Prince Charming.

The occasional appearance of the Evil Fairy Carabosse, played by Demid Zykov also made an entertaining villain. Accompanied by cronies in gargoyle masks, Carabosse crept around the stage plotting, to spoil the kingdom’s festivities and send the Princess Aurora into a deep sleep.

What gave Sleeping Beauty an edge were the magnificent period costumes which included courtiers, fairies and a King, that were all as striking as the act itself and filled the stage with dazzle and colour.

The detailed costumes, alongside the powerful music of the orchestra and an effortless performance by the ballet dancers makes it is easy to see why the Russian State Ballet of Siberia is so well loved. Creating a fairy tale world onstage that many of us have known and loved since our childhoods, the audience were left spellbound by this beautiful performance of Sleeping Beauty that was an absolute pleasure to watch.