Sleeping Beauty

Swan Theatre, Worcester


The Christmas season brings many delights and the pantomime tradition is always an enriching experience for all ages and families in the community. This year’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ has all the conventional elements of pantomime and family fun.

The story of the charming couple falling in love to fulfil the plans of their parents, the attempts of the wicked Carabosse to thwart their intentions and happiness, the ultimate victory of the good fairy over the wicked witch and the union of the happy couple are the elements that charm and satisfy the audience in this traditional story.

This show succeeds with a strongly intimate and local feeling: cast with familiar performers and with local allusions and jokes, it has a sense of strong and warm attachment to our city. The success is considerably reliant on the performance of Ben Humphrey as Dame Ginny, well-supported by Oliver Brooks as Silly Billy, whose performance grew and helped to balance that of Ben Humphrey.

Ben Humphrey is in his element in this kind of role. His improvisations, his interactions with the audience, and the warmth and mischief of his personality are tremendous: he also has a beautiful and strong singing voice. The overall success of the evening owes much to him.

The use of some well-known pop songs to complement some of Jaeger’s witty lyrics provide a strong musical dimension, Helen Leek’s excellent choreography is once again a lovely contribution with the addition of young local dancers who do an excellent job as well. The dances have a delightful crispness and clarity.

Rick Godsall leads the small musical band very well and adds another live and enriching dimension to the evening. The band provide Dame Ginny with another source of banter and interaction too.

The addition of a UV scene provided by Star Puppets is very clever and colourful. Besides that there are all the traditional elements of the pantomime: corny jokes, the slapstick, a handful of children from the audience called on stage to share in the performance, the water pistols, the bright and beautiful costumes in a variety of settings provided by the set designers and the charm of the young and beautiful lovers, the identification of some individual in the audience to be the butt of some of the improvised humour.

Sleeping Beauty is a lovely and enjoyable evening for all the family this Christmas and runs into the New Year. To 07-01-18

Tim Crow


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