I had talked to Bourne at the time he was making this work, and he told me he was keeping the spirit of the story, but making some character changes, mainly because, in the Petipa original, there is no time for Aurora to fall in love. She’s been asleep for a hundred years, and then, hey presto, she’s marrying a compete stranger. In his version the young Aurora is a mischievous tomboy who is falling for Leo, the royal gamekeeper, so when she wakes he is already the man of her choice. The problem of how to make Leo, who does not succumb to the sleeping curse, live for a hundred years without ageing, is solved by the fact that the vengeful Caradoc, son of the now deceased Carabosse, is a vampire. As the curtain falls on act one, we see him feasting on Leo’s jugular. There is a Gothic feel to the whole work, from the black- eyed punk fairies to the sleek Caradoc himself. The story begins in 1890, the date the original ballet was made. This brings Aurora’s birthday to the Edwardian era, and ends the tale in 2011, the year this version was created, so that the cast are in trendy current-day dress. In final the moments Leo fights Caradoc for Aurora. He wins, of course, and Caradoc is then knifed to death by a vampirish crowd.

Tchaikovsky’s score, even in this edited version, is very long, and here and there, particularly in the ensemble dances, the work loses some of its momentum, but it’s a highly entertaining and surprisingly moving piece. Bourne has created some really passionate and abandoned duets for Aurora and Leo, and dramatic struggles with Caradoc. Hannah Vassallo is a marvellous, spirited and romantic Aurora, who is played as a baby by a brilliantly manipulated, cheeky puppet! Dominic North is a likeable Leo, and Ben Bunce is terrific in the dual role of Carabosse and Caradoc. FOUR STARS Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday At the Hippodrome Birmingham, Feb 5–9 and High Wycombe Swan Feb 26 – March 2 Call 08448 717 627 or visit atgtickets.com