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Sleeping Beauty (Salisbury Playhouse)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Sleeping Beauty is everything a traditional pantomime should be. It is cleverly written by Andrew Pollard and the music and lyrics are co-written by Andrew and Kieran Buckeridge who have kept to the spirit of old fashioned pantomime without resorting to unnecessary technological tricks. The music, ably led by Richard Reeday is lively and ebullient. Although none of the songs are particularly memorable they all add to the joy of the show.

It has plenty of audience participation, a smattering of slapstick, good versus evil and the obligatory happy ending. The audience absolutely love it, with children of all ages being totally engaged throughout; shouting, booing, pointing and waving their arms about at all the antics before them. (The parents are not quiet either, joining in with gusto!). This happy and slick production is aimed more for children than their parents as it lacks most of the usual adult innuendo. Having said that, it was a refreshing change to just get caught up in the innocent and magical world of make believe.

Although all the characters are brilliant, Dame Nanny Fanny, played outrageously by Kieran Buckeridge steals the show. She draws you in with her whacky, garish outfits, high energy stage presence and the children just love her.

Ella Vale as Fairy Flax plays a sweet, enchanting figure, who is immediately taken to the heart of the audience. She triumphs, as ever, over the evil but captivating character of Belladonna Bindweed Anna Stolli. This is a great performance by Anna whose statuesque figure malevolently dominates the stage and elicits boos and hisses from the audience.

Michael Imerson shines as Billy, the loveable prankster who keeps the show bouncing along with his sheer dynamism, as well as awful jokes!!

King Meadowsweet Tim Treslove is a jovial Henry VIII figure, being both bumptious, and rather inept, adoring of his daughter Princess Rose Sophia Ragavelas.

Prince Dylan, a hippie Luke Kempner woos and captures the heart of the Princess. The two of them make a believable pairing despite the fact they fall in love in a matter of two minutes. Both are authentic and enjoyable.

The young performers support the main characters throughout, and their enthusiasm is tangible.

The sets and lighting are both colourful and innovative ensuring a feast for the eyes. This is a really fun show, which cannot fail to lift the winter blues away.


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