|Dominic North |
(Image Source: Dancers Pro)
We recently spoke to Dominic North, star of Matthew Bourne's production of Sleeping Beauty, about his role in the show, how it differs from the original fairy-tale version, and his own career to date ...
First of all, can you tell us about your role as Leo in Sleeping Beauty?
Leo is a love interest of Aurora, so I guess he's playing what would be the role of Prince Charming from the original. But he's more of a childhood sweetheart, like Catherine Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights, because he's a lonely gardener, and she's a regal princess.
What would you say are the main differences between this production of Sleeping Beauty and the original children's fairy-tale?
Well, compared to the Disney version, we go through a slightly different timeline. Our timeline starts in 1890 when the ballet was created, and then it's her 21st birthday in 1911, plus they're in Edwardian times for her 16th birthday. And then we have a hundred-year interval, so I have to find a way of being around to wake her up 100 years later. There's kind of a vampiric twist, without giving a spoiler away! And then our version goes up to the modern day, so the timeline is different. But if you know the story of Sleeping Beauty, you wouldn't realise that it's massively different; it's still about a princess who goes asleep and wakes up, and from there the main themes are exactly the same.
Share with us your background in dance.
In dance, I started when I was about 9 or 10 years old, just doing a couple of classes a week as a hobby, like modern jazz, that kind of thing. Then as I got older, I did more stuff like hip-hop and ballet. When I was 18, I went to a full-time school in London for three years and I didn't really know what I wanted to do; I just liked dancing! But I got a job coming out of it with Matthew Bourne's company, and now 12 years later, I'm in Liverpool talking to you! (laughs)
You also starred as Edward in Edward Scissorhands in 2015. What was that experience like?
It was amazing. It was an amazing role, a very iconic role, and you don't want to disappoint people who love the film. It was the first big role I did when I first performed it 8 years ago, so it was nice to go back to it. Having done other shows and other leading parts, to then go back to it and revisit it with a different set of cast members was good. And the show was actually better-received this time than it was before, for some reason, either because people saw it before and remembered it fondly, or there were some people who were new to being fans of the company, like within the last five years, and they had never seen it before, and then they really enjoyed this version. So, it was great to be a part of it again.
How have you found your time on Sleeping Beauty so far?
It's been great. It's the same kind of thing in that people haven't seen it or, if they have, there aren't many of them because it was only created a few years ago. And they've come back to it and said that the show is looking better with minor tweaks and changes. It's a great show to do, and it ticks all the boxes for me for a Matthew Bourne show: it has the story, there's humour, the emotion, the music - obviously a Tchaikovsky score is always great to work to - and the set and costumes are great too. Everything about it I think makes it a great, great show.
Finally, what are your future aspirations in both dance and theatre?
I don't really know! Just to keep doing what I'm doing, I think. I've been very lucky that I've managed to play amazing roles for this company around the world, so I hope to just continue doing that. And I revisit shows because I've started to enjoy doing that; if I play a part, I go back to it and invest even more in a character. So, yeah, I hope to just keep on doing what I'm doing.
Sleeping Beauty plays the Liverpool Empire from Tuesday February 16 to Saturday February 20. To book your tickets, click here.
For more information about Sleeping Beauty, visit http://new-adventures.net/sleeping-beauty.