sleeping beauty

Craig Hollingsworth as Muddles, Iain Lauchlan as Nanny McWheeze and Joanna Thorne as Prince Valiant. Picture: Robert Day.

Sleeping Beauty

Belgrade Theatre Coventry


Panto season is ahead of us and this year’s Belgrade Theatre Panto Sleeping Beauty is a rib-tickling triumph. It has everything you want for a family, fun-filled traditional panto plus so much more.

I thought that Trump and Brexit had left my guffawing days behind me but I was so wrong. The highlights of Iain Lauchlan’s new offering are brilliant.

Starting obviously – and I hope this makes its way onto YouTube – with the Panto song, I’m not sure I can do it justice, and I wonder that Health and Safety wasn’t invoked! It was pure Music Hall and the pity of it is that the participants were sweetly unaware how funny it was!

The main members of the cast had to pick a profession if they weren’t in Panto. As the physical descriptions of their main activities interlock on stage, serious injury looks a real possibility but tight choreography, luck, deft footwork, probably hundreds of hours of practice and the odd black eye saves the day. Sounds lame but it was the funniest thing I’ve seen for a many a year.

There were many more treats as you’d expect when the princes of improv get together . . .  Iain as a Ballerina dancing The Sugar Plum Fairy supported – literally – by long-standing sidekick Craig Hollingsworth as Muddles the Jester was screamingly funny.

Ah! The story? Once upon a time, a baby, Princess Belle (Melissa Brown-Taylor) was born to King Hugo (Declan Wilson) and Queen Hyacinth (Vicky Field).

Azurial (Anna Mitcham), the good fairy with her acolytes, wish her wisdom and health, but evil villain Carabosse (Laura Judge) wishes her dead at 18 from a spinning wheel needle

 One fairy commutes this to 100 years of sleep. Love’s kiss must wake her and Prince Valiant is the ‘man’ for the job (Joanna Thorne).

The set is suitably magical, real musicians in the pit, children on the stage being cute and clever, what’s not to like? I love Panto and I loved every minute of this one. To 05-01-19

Jane Howard


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