Disney’s lyrics to Tchaikovsky’s ‘Garland Waltz’ sing of “Once upon a Dream”, and Moscow City Ballet whisked the Edinburgh Playhouse into the dreamlike fairy tale of Tchaikovsky’s ballet Sleeping Beauty, for an enchanting Friday evening that delighted throughout, from Once upon a Time to Happily Ever After.

Opening on the fateful christening of new-born princess, Aurora, the backdrop is an elegant baroque throne room, with golden pillars and Grecian statues. Stately courtiers dance stiffly while a Master of Ceremonies (Yaroslav Alekhnovich), in a spectacular feathered purple hat, oversees the proceedings with foppish frivolity. Everything seems idyllic as six fairies, with light fluttering movements, take turns to bestow magical gifts upon the princess.

The Lilac Fairy (Kundus Nazaralieva), the last to dance, has majestic, mercurial choreography. Her dance has pauses for the Master of Ceremonies to join in with funny little hops backwards and froglike pliés. Although captivating, it continues so much longer than the other fairies' dances that it seems somewhat contrived that she’s not yet cast her gift before the evil fairy, Carabosse, arrives and curses the child.

This is a minor quibble, however, and Carabosse’s entrance with her entourage of goblin minions is magnificently theatrical. The perfect pantomime villain (she is played by male dancer Kiril Kasatkin in drag), Carabosse mocks the royal parents, threatens the baby and, for her own amusement, taunts the Master of Ceremonies by pulling out his hair until he has a giant bald patch. Her galumphing skips are pleasingly menacing and I loved the incorporation of her sparkling walking stick into the choreography. When the Lilac Fairy reveals she can temper Carabosse’s curse so the princess will be put to sleep rather than killed, Carabosse is so furious she has to be carried off by her minions, shaking her fist at the sky.

The backdrop changes to a Versailles-like palace exterior with more golden statues and a fountain. The Master of Ceremonies, making a show of covering his bald patch with his hat, leads the dancers in the spectacular ‘Garland Waltz’. The variety of action onstage, with partnered couples’ and single girls’ intertwined dancing and the Master of Ceremonies prancing enthusiastically amidst it all, ensures there is always something to watch and the excitement is contagious. Liliya Orekhova’s beautiful dancing captures the quick eagerness of a teenager and her delighted poses as she is lifted by her four identical suitors in the ‘Rose Adagio’ have a naïve haughtiness – very fitting for a sixteen-year-old princess. Her overenthusiastic suitors comically abandon their dance partners in favour of fawning over Aurora each time she enters, with flourishing appreciative gestures and repeated flower gifts.

The festivities turn sinister when Carabosse appears and gifts Aurora the deadly spindle. Despite protestations from the Master of Ceremonies and her parents, Aurora refuses to relinquish her new toy and naturally she pricks her finger. Carabosse gloats triumphantly, even stopping time simply to remove the Master of Ceremony’s hat and caress his bald spot!

One hundred years pass over the course of the interval and there is a new royal family. The fashions have changed from the gaudy baroque of Princess Aurora’s time to the understated classical worn by the Prince (Daniil Orlov) and his associates. The mannerisms of the court have also switched; now the Master of Ceremonies performs stiff, stately motions while the courtiers are elegant and relaxed.

The Prince has a vision of Princess Aurora and the resultant dance between the two lovers is mesmerising. Orlov performs powerfully high leaps while Orekova pirouettes with little swings of the legs that emphasise her playfulness. With the help of the Lilac Fairy, the prince defeats Carabosse and her goblin minions a final time and reaches the castle to wake the sleeping princess with his kiss.

The story over, there is still an entire act of wedding celebrations to follow, to which a host of fairytale characters have been invited. Puss-in-Boots dances a smooth feline number with the White Cat, with slinking paws, lazy drags and sudden little clawed catfights. The longest lifts in the ballet naturally go to two dainty bluebirds, who invoke flying with their flapping arms and swooping body motions. The end pose, where the supporting leg of the male bluebird’s (in arabesque) is hidden by the female’s body to make him seem as if he’s off the ground, is particularly clever.

There is even a melodramatic enactment of Little Red Riding Hood. I liked Aleksei Tsavko’s wolf’s silent-movie-villain qualities as he leapt craftily after his frightened prey.

The final dance, with fifteen couples in perfect unison, is spectacular and the main couple perform a fantastic lift where she wraps her legs around his body and he supports her with only one knee.

If the cheers, applause, hoots and whistles from the audience were not a clear enough indication of the brilliance of the performance, let me say it here: this production was magnificent.