BWW Review: CTCB's Sublime Staging of SLEEPING BEAUTY at Artscape Opera House
One could easily have mistaken the Artscape stage for the 19th century grandeur of the Bolshoi Theatre - as Cape Town City Ballet's production of SLEEPING BEAUTY was nothing short of captivating on its opening night this past weekend.
SLEEPING BEAUTY was Tchaikovsky's second ballet after SWAN LAKE and was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa. Supported by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Tchaikovsky's romantic compositions filled the auditorium as the CTCB company was perfectly timed to the adaption of The Brothers Grimm's well-known fairytale. Denise Schultze Godfrey's staging was both wonderfully inventive while also remaining true to the historic ballet.
In her first principal role in a full length classical ballet, Precious Adams was impeccable. The American-born ballerina stood statuesque as Princess Aurora and glistened on stage. Adams barely wavered in the Rose Adagio; proving the ballerina a gift to have on the Artscape. It was as if her personal determination in her craft radiated off stage while her entire body remained in succinct fluidity throughout.
Opposite her as Prince Florimund, Andile Ndlovu is equally commanding on stage and the two are picturesque in the third act's grand pas de deux. The gasp-inducing fish dives were completed with wonderfully clean lines and both should be commended on their stability in such demanding roles.
Kirstel Paterson's Lilac Fairy is a welcome presence and moves with an unmatchable grace. Her supportive Fairies in the prologue form a well-rounded quartet that are each able to shine as individuals. Also during the prologue and as a stark contrast to the gentle Paterson, Olivia Parfitt as the Wicked Fairy makes a grand entrance that stays with you as her bejeweled figure appears and disappears. The remaining company flows excellently together. Various standout CTCB performers to be commended include Leané Theunissen, Chante Daniels, Stephen Underwood and Ivan Boonzaaier.
From the inner court of King Florestan's palace to the gloomy yet enchanting forest, Peter Cazalet's set design is breathtaking. The curtain lifts on the lavish palatial setting that is also complemented by Cazalet's extravagant costuming. Costumes were opulent yet not overly garish; one of the most impressive elements being the ease in which the dancers move in them. Lighting design by Wilhelm Disbergen also added an appropriate ambience to scenes and did wonders to support Schultze Godfrey's vision.
Everything about this production is a visual delight that lends itself to being an unforgettable masterpiece of escapism. Sure to be talked about for the rest of the season, the classic SLEEPING BEAUTY is yet another staging Cape Town and its City Ballet can be proud of.
Photo credit: Pat Bromilow-Downing
SLEEPING BEAUTY will be performed at the Artscape Opera House from 17 to 31 August. Tickets cost from R180 to R695 with concessions for pensioners, scholars and block bookings of ten or more. Bookings can be made at Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.
CTCB will be accompanied by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra at the 19h30 performances on Friday 23, Saturday 24 and Wednesday 28 August. They will also accompany CTCB at the 15h00 performances on Saturday 31 August.