Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
Crossing the foyer through a plethora of pink merchandise we entered a pin drop quiet auditorium full of children waiting for the start of the 4pm performance of English National Ballet’s my first Ballet at the Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall Theatre. We had good seats situated only 6 rows back and with a really good view of the stage but to be honest there are no bad seats in the Assembly Hall.
My First Ballet follows the traditional story of Sleeping Beauty, the princess Aurora who falls asleep after pricking her finger on her 16th birthday following a curse from wicked fairy Carabosse. The curse has a few tweaks for the younger audience, she pricks her finger on a rose not a spinning wheel and the spell is broken by a hug from a handsome prince not a kiss which I thought was really sweet. The ballet is also brilliantly narrated throughout bringing the story alive through words as well as dance. Both the set and the dancing are amazing and you would never know you had an audience full of children the theatre was so quiet, a quick look around saw hundreds of mesmerised faces.
After the interval the story resumes in the woods with a charming dance set complete with blue birds, cats, a wolf and Little Red Riding Hood!
After Lilac, the good fairy, finds the good hearted prince in the woods she takes him back to the castle to wake Aurora and she and the Prince see each other for the first time. Celebrating they fall in love and the performance ends with a traditional happy ever after wedding party with beautiful dancing complete with lots of wows from the audience.
Before and during the performance you can purchase drinks and snacks in the bar area and Sleeping Beauty merchandise in the foyer. There is plenty of easy parking in the multi storey car park right next door so no excuse not to go and see the performance.
My 6 year old son had a fantastic time as did all the other children in the audience, his one complaint was “why is all the merchandise pink, there is nothing for boys”. Expect there to be more ballet mad girls in the audience than boys but don’t be afraid to take your son there were several boys there too all of which seemed to love the show. At 1hr 30 minutes including interval its was just the right length for the age group.
A beautiful introduction to ballet, my first ballet – Sleeping Beauty, comes highly recommended.
Tickets cost from £17.75 (booking fees may apply).
My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty is at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells from 8-9 June 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01892 530613.
Assembly Hall Theatre, Crescent Rd, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 2LU | 01892 530613