Reviewed by Allison Thomas
Excited children and supportive adults in the packed-out theatre all delighted in this timeless story of Sleeping Beauty. Lighting issues delayed the commencement on opening night, however everyone happily communed until it was resolved.
With 26 children in the cast, it wasn’t easy to see any particular stars, however it was fun watching the often cute way that some children interpreted the dancing and acting, some smaller ones watching the others for cues and others confidently doing their moves. Some of the singing was a bit quiet for the audience to hear, as there were no microphones used, which didn’t detract from the obvious enthusiasm and enjoyment of those on stage and in the audience.
Mike Philips played a humble, kindly King Norbert, a gentle foil to Barry Hill’s outrageous Queen. The pair were quite sweet in a long-married kind of way. Hannah Doyle was happy and confident and played a lovestruck young Princess Aurora with innocence and grace. Richard Hobson as Prince Orlando managed to portray a courtly gentleman with gentle good humour and made the transition to his own great grandson with cheek.
Rhianon Shapcott was busy as the peaceful patient Fairy Peaceful as well as organising the choreography with Michaela Arnold. I loved the cute Rat Dance, with some very scary rats! And the zombies were even scarier!
Of course Theresa Dolman was a delightfully evil and wicked Carabosse and the audience enjoyed booing whenever she came on stage. I also loved the two cats – Amy Colangeo gesticulating and miming as Kitty and the sharp tongued, outspoken Spindleshanks ably played by Kristyn Barnes.
All in all, the directors Robert Andrews and Tina Hall did a wonderful job co-ordinating the huge team of performers to make this show a success. The multiple scene changes, unusual in a pantomime, were smoothly and quietly executed and showed off Robert Andrews’ set design and the construction and artwork of a wonderful team. Also of note are the many marvellous costumes, interesting hat and hair effects and clever makeup creations that were uniquely made for this show.
The whole show was enjoyed by young and old in the audience, who actively participated in the action. I’m sure there aren’t many seats still available, so I would recommend you book NOW to make sure you get to see this fun pantomime about Sleeping Beauty with a few twists and lots of laughs!!
The Queen (Barry Hill) and Evil Carabosse (theresa Dolman) photo by Mike Phillips