Sprinkling Christmas cheer in Tewkesbury, Roses Theatre's Sleeping Beauty pantomime transported audiences into an enchanted world of magic, romance and adventure, where 118 years passed by in a wonderful two hours.
Promising a traditional family pantomime with Ben Crocker once again at the helm as writer and director, Roses Theatre's production of Sleeping Beauty has all the ingredients for a fantastic festive show in Tewkesbury.
Exuding charm from the optimistic ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’ opening, the audience was in for a dreamy show, quite literally, complete with gorgeous heroes, dastardly villains, dames and jokers, along with some four-legged friends – or foes, as the case may be!
A story as old as time, Sleeping Beauty tells the tale of evil fairy Carabosse who sentences the baby Princess Aurora to death by pricking her finger on a spinning wheel – a spell that’s countered by Fairy Peaceful and changed to a deep sleep, only to be woken by true love’s kiss.
Alexandra Da Silva was a beautiful Princess Aurora in every sense of the word and epitomised the innocent heroine, her ‘Perfect’ duet with Prince Orlando, (Zak Derler) offering all the romance you’d expect from a panto.
Injecting some slapstick and laughs were the brilliant King Norbert (Simon Spencer-Hyde), dame Queen Dorothy (Ben Eagle) and silly Billy (Michael Watson-Gray), whose tongue-twisters, one liners and farcical physical comedy were spot on.
In particular, an extremely messy baking scene raised loud laughs, combining a rendition of ‘Chu Chi Face’ with some childish food fighting – with the actors evidently enjoying themselves! And a comedy highlight was a very surprising appearance from some mischievous musical mice – but no spoilers here!
Thanks to an atmospheric set and excellent cast, the audience was transported through time and space during the show – from the Royal Palace of Woolycombe to Carabosse’s Lair, and into Dreamland.
Commanding the stage was the wonderfully wicked Carabosse, whose scheming, singing and sorcery made her the perfect villain, accompanied by her feline sidekick, Spindleshanks.
With the second half off to a very ‘Thriller’ start, the action moved into a comical dream sequence, involving an impromptu music performance and some amusing sleepwalking – offering a unique and entertaining scene that added something different to the well-known story.
Fast-forward 118 years, which flew by in a flurry of music and action, it was time for a very happy ending to a very lovely pantomime, complete with a singalong song, a royal wedding and plenty of cheer.
And it wasn’t just the kids singing and dancing along! Sleeping Beauty features everything from Michael Jackson and Robbie Williams, to Ed Sheeran and The Black Eyed Peas, ensuring that whatever your age, the cast can certainly ‘Entertain You’.
Encompassing plenty of audience participation, boo- and hiss-worthy moments, magical music numbers and stacks of humour, Ben Crocker’s latest pantomime meets and exceeds expectations, as reflected in the closing cheers when the curtain came down on another excellent show.
A special mention has to go to the young chorus members who performed beautifully. Especially Kitty The Palace Cat, whose mannerisms, dancing and charming expressions were a delight.
Don’t leave tickets for Sleeping Beauty sitting on your Christmas wish list – snap some up before the seats are all filled! This is a fabulous fairy-tale that’s fun for the whole family.
By Kathryn Purvis
Friday 08 December 2017
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