But nothing can compromise the dark dramatic spirit or cramp the thrilling style of this bold new take on an old tale.
Rather than surrendering the sleeping Aurora to a stranger on the strength of one kiss, Bourne weaves in a youthful true love interest between the Princess and a commoner, Leo (the royal gamekeeper), and introduces a True Blood twist that ensures Leo will be on hand to re-awaken their future together. Very Gothick, and very funny too.
If Leo, aided by Count Lilac (the elegant vampire leader of some very fabulous fairies), is willing to play a century-long waiting game, so too is the broodingly malevolent Caradoc, son of the vengeful fairy who cursed Aurora in her crib. He appears at Aurora's 21st birthday, a sunlit Edwardian garden party where her inner wild child is dancing barefoot, unwittingly vulnerable to his influence. In Caradoc's arms, she acquires a heated sensuality that Bourne colours with a different energy to the soaring, buoyant and touchingly naive passion she explores with Leo. Suddenly, the whole conflict between fairy-tale good and evil resonates with the unnerving humanity of intense desires – written into the luscious fabric of Tchaikovsky's score and revealed in Bourne's choreography. From the cute puppet-baby Aurora to the flesh-and-blood Princess (Hannah Vassalo), we're given reasons a-plenty to care about this innocent creature's fate. If she's happy-ever-after with her twilight love Leo, we're more than delighted with Bourne's richly inventive Beauty.