ENGLISH National Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty, showing at the Liverpool Empire, strives to give the audience a traditional experience of the 122-year-old ballet.
The fantastic costumes were specially restored to take them back to more earlier designs. Glittering tutus, ruche upon ruche of shimmering fabric and bejewelled tiaras adorn the ballerinas whirling around the stage.
The set also works well to create a fairytale atmosphere with chandeliers, enchanted forests and an impressive ship to sail Prince Desire to Princess Aurora, his one true love.
Perhaps one aspect of the traditionalism of Kenneth Macmillan's The Sleeping Beauty which does not work as well on today's stage is having a man play the evil fairy, Carabosse.
In nineteenth century ballet grotesque or comic rolls were often played by male dancers but when Fabian Reimair bursts on to the Empire stage looking like a drag version of Queen Elizabeth I, he is more reminiscent of a pantomime dame than a terrifying threat.
The production is long, spanning three hours and the middle act looses the momentum created by the wonderful first act. Although the important action of the Prince finding and waking Sleeping Beauty happens in that period, it is not as captivating as it should be.
Understandably, the production is much more about the dancing than the story. The most entertaining parts are when the whole company are on stage taking it in turns to perform duets and solos.
Often described as one of ballet's most technically challenging set pieces, the Rose Adagio when Princess Aurora is presented to her four suitors is performed wonderfully. Erina Takahashi, as Aurora, transfixes the audience with her delicacy and power.
During the scene when she pricks her finger and almost dies, Takahashi shows huge feeling through her movements creating an emotional scene.
Although there are aspects of this Sleeping Beauty which could have been better, all of it was good, great or excellent and a delight to watch.