Skip to main content

Sleepers Awake!

Those of you who warned me about the stubborn nature of sinus infections were right as I now wade my way through a second course of grim antibiotics. Not much fun, especially in a week which has highlighted the ‘ticking time bomb’ of antibiotic resistance. My daughter, Lily, has sent me some interesting news about an alternative treatment for sinusitis which can only be described – look away if you’re eating – a bogeyectomy. Nice. I shall look forwards to that then.

On a happier and far more aesthetically pleasing note, we made it to see Matthew Bourne’s amazing production of Sleeping Beauty at the Millennium Centre. Just. Wet weather, road works and farm vehicles added an extra frisson to the timings of our journey, but we arrived at the venue with ten minutes to spare. Enough time for a comfort break, certainly – but, quelle surprise - I have to run up to the third floor before I find a queue for the Ladies that doesn’t have ten women in front of me and even then it seems from the deathly silence in each of the three cubicles, that the occupants are there for an extended nap!

More comfortable at last, we join another queue to take our seats only to find an outbreak of major ticket fail. Seat numbers are clearly printed on the tickets, there are plenty of helpful staff to direct you to the correct area and, as a final check, the sections numbers are also marked above each entrance… so how come at least a quarter of the people standing in front of us have to be turned away because they’ve rocked up at completely the wrong place?? Grrr!

Eventually everyone in the packed auditorium was seated and the performance began… Act One – 1890, The Baby Aurora. For the very first minutes, I was engaged but not transported by what to me seemed more theatre rather than dance … and then the fairies arrived to bestow their gifts and from that moment I was utterly mesmerised! The dancing, costumes, makeup and sets were simply breath-taking. How so many dancers leap and land so gracefully without making a sound is beyond me… but then I was one of those little girls who realised very early on in life that I wouldn’t make a ballerina in a million years. The whole production was ravishingly beautiful in every mood from ethereal to darkly sensual and left me speechless with emotion. My only regret is that with so much happening on stage – none of that ‘extras standing around pretending to be having a jolly conversation’ nonsense – I couldn’t follow everything at once and wished I could rewind it very slowly and experience it all over again. Which seems like a very good reason to do it all again one day!

I couldn’t take photos during the performance but this You Tube link to the official promo trailer - brought to my attention by lovely writer, reviewer and blogger, Kathryn Eastman, who also saw it - will give you a small flavour of this exquisite production. And if you get the chance to see it live, you’re in for a real treat.


Mandy K James said…
Sounds like a great experience, Chris! I have never been to the ballet, but I will day. A bit disappointed that you weren't asked to get up and join in with your hula hoop fro a bit though. And blow your nose...(bogeyotomoy) X
Kath said…
The Bogeyectomy sounds like it could be a really gross kid's book. I know a few kids who would love to read that!

But on to more beautiful things... I agree that it wasn't until the fairies appeared to bestow their gifts that I was caught up in the world of Sleeping Beauty but from that moment on, I felt as if I were there up on that stage with them in the enchanted forest. It was captivating and over all too soon.
Frances said…
Chris, I do hope that you'll be fully A-okay very soon. It's great that you and Tom were able to see the fabulous Sleeping Beauty.

You've made me laugh with your description of those final hurdles required at the theatre before finally being able to take your very own seats as the house lights dimmed and the stage magic began.

CL Taylor said…
I LOVE Matthew Bourne and have been lucky enough to see Swan Lake (half naked male swans *swoon*) and Cinderella (set in bomb torn London in WWIi). Would love to see Sleeping Beauty too, the man's a genius.
sheepish said…
Hi so glad you enjoyed the Ballet it sounds wonderful despite the holdups. Sorry to hear about your continued sinus problems, I can also recommend Acupuncture and Homeopathy. I really do prefer natural remedies wherever possible, especially as they do work. I was very sceptical about all these treatments as an ex scientist but they do work. Give them a try if you can.
Pondside said…
What a treat that must have been! I have been trying to find out if it comes closer to us than New York, but haven't been successful. It would be worth it to go to San Francisco or LA if it came this far.
I hope that dratted infection is soon vanquished!
Flowerpot said…
Oh Chris I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much! I'm going to see it in Bristol in May - I'm a real Matthew Bourne groupie!
Chris Stovell said…
It was terrific, Mandy, I didn't even think about hula hooping as the evening went so quickly. I recommend both... but not the bogeyectomy.

Kath - let's write it! Know any good illustrators? I'd love to see Sleeping Beauty again, it was so beautiful.

Frances, thank you. It's hanging on, but hopefully I'll get better soon! Oh, it was so frustrating to feel that we'd made it in time only to be stuck in various queues. All was forgotten when the performance began.

Cally, I've been utterly won over! I was amazed that Matthew Bourne didn't train as a dancer until such a relatively late age - so, so talented!
Chris Stovell said…
Pondside, it's really is a treat if you do get the chance, take it! It's one of the most memorable live performances I ever been privileged to attend.

Flowerpot - I'm completely won over - I do hope to see more of his productions now! The theatre was packed so there's plenty of demand.

Popular posts from this blog

Preserving Memories

  ‘But Nana,’ five-year-old Bee says with some concern, ‘how did Father Christmas get to be so old?’. Never mind Father Christmas, I think, looking at the photo of my four-year-old self, where did all those years go?  Slowly - and very carefully - we’ve been catching up with our loved ones and as joyful as each of these reunions has been it’s incredibly painful to say goodbye again in these very uncertain times. Perhaps that’s what’s behind Bee’s request to ‘look at all your pictures, Nana?’ Perhaps Bee, like so many of us, is looking for patches of solid ground? Although seeing the change in me from the little girl I was to the great age I am now seems to have given her a bit of a wobble! ‘ Who’s this then, Mum?’ asks my daughter, Rose, a few weeks later, looking through my box of loose photographs, and it’s then that I realise I should probably do something with them. I’m not someone who often needs a rear view mirror, I’m much happier where I am now or looking ahead to what’s next.

Fly Me to the Zoom Book Club

I have to admit to feeling a teeny bit nervous when I’m invited to join She Runs: Cardiff for their Zoom book club to chat to them about my running memoir/guide, Running Kind. This brilliantly supportive women-only social running group based in Cardiff deservedly won the Run Wales Group of the Year in December 2020 for their fantastic efforts to encourage and engage their 1.1k followers. Their lockdown activities, with a strong emphasis on health and well-being, have included virtual couch to 5k, themed runs, monthly challenges and a book club which has attracted great runners, popular authors and now, gulp, me. Zoom’s new to me so my daughters break me in gently with a rousing game of family unicorn bingo. Tom and I wear our unicorn headbands and there are tantrums - bingo cards upturned, a sin-binning - laughter and tears, not least mine when it’s over because it’s both so lovely to see the family and so painful wondering when we’ll see them for real. So I’ve Zoomed, I’ve prepare

Milestones and Moments

  Snowflakes swirl around me as I battle up the hill towards home at the end of a six mile run. I look up as shapes appear in my snow globe world. A young woman is leading her small daughter, who is seated on a pony. I stand aside to let them pass. ‘And that lady is also breathing oxygen,’ says the woman, with a smile. The little girl regards me solemnly. ‘Like my horse,’ she says. ‘Yes,’ the woman agrees, ‘like your horse. Now what else can you think of that breathes oxygen?’ It’s lockdown in a moment; permitted exercise, home schooling, a certain wariness of other people and - in the back of my mind - the appalling loss of life, of last breaths taken. T here have been days when I’ve physically ached with missing my family. January includes several birthdays; littlest grandson was one and we’re all very sad not to have seen more of him. It’s overwhelming at times, but I’m keenly aware that there’s nothing to be gained from wishing things were different - we just have to be patient. L