Set, costumes prove the real drawcards

LOCAL BOYS JOIN PROS: From left, Damen Axtens, 11, of Winton, Dominic Burrows, 9,  Invercargill, Royal New Zealand Ballet dancer Shannon Dawson as Catalabutte, Dryw McArthur, 13,  Invercargill and Joshua Swain, 10,  Queenstown. The Southland boys were chosen to perform with the production of Sleeping Beauty.
LOCAL BOYS JOIN PROS: From left, Damen Axtens, 11, of Winton, Dominic Burrows, 9, Invercargill, Royal New Zealand Ballet dancer Shannon Dawson as Catalabutte, Dryw McArthur, 13, Invercargill and Joshua Swain, 10, Queenstown. The Southland boys were chosen to perform with the production of Sleeping Beauty.

A stunning set was the showstopper at last night's production of Sleeping Beauty at Invercargill's Civic Theatre.

About 5000 sequins, 70 headdresses, 1000 hand-made leaves, and five sets of fairy wings contributed to the brilliance of the costumes and the series of stage changes.

The design for the Royal New Zealand Ballet's most ambitious production yet was the brainchild of the company's artistic director Gary Harris.

The technical director, Andrew Lees, was responsible for bringing the Renaissance-inspired set – none of which contained right angles – to the Invercargill stage.

Performing for a near-full theatre last night, the strongest performance was from Aurora, played by guest soloist Abigail Boyle, of the New Zealand Ballet, who conveyed strong emotions with her face as well as her movements, which were precise, elegant and even breathtaking in the final act.

While the production heralded Weta Workshop cat masks and a fire-breathing dragon, some of this felt out of sync and almost gimicky with the elegant backdrops.

The audience seemed captivated every time the curtain lifted.

The Southland Times