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Sleeping Beauty (Liverpool)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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If you want a huge slice of Christmas fun to warm the cockles of your heart in this freezing weather then get yourself along to the Everyman Rock’n’roll panto

There is all the usual silly fun, appropriate for both adults and children, though sprinkled throughout with nod nod wink wink ‘naughty’ undertones that get adults roaring and children bemused.

But this is traditional panto fun with the unique Everyman twist. Even the story is changed to add a fresh aspect to a well-known story.

The costumes are bright, silly and hilarious with the brilliant Adam Keast playing two kings, King Ashley the princess’s father and King Noddy, the prince’s father. A perfect foil is the wonderful Francis Tucker who plays both wives, Queen Scarlet and Queen Norma.

Tucker, who has a knee problem, managed magnificently with crutches, using them to great effect, as weapons and even a cod guitar.

Fairy Milly Moonbeam, played by the feisty Nicky Swift, looked wonderful in her white sparkly tutu, lit up with glinting lights. And does she rock!

In fact there were a lot of topical tunes rocking the night away as the nine-strong cast also doubled as a rock band at the rear of the stage. There is much dancing and singing as well as audience participation – particularly for one poor man – David – who was selected for particular ridicule, but all in good fun.

And, of course, the audience get a ritual soaking from two onstage gnomes and the cast with water pistols.

Villain of the piece is Oderon, the petulant fairy who takes revenge on Princess Ruby as he was not invited to her christening. David McGranaghan does a wonderful job as the evil one, appearing through a trap door waving a jewel encrusted skull-wand to a chorus of boos. But in the end it appears it’s his mother, Peggy Heggerty (Jonny Bower) who withheld the invitation from him, and the real baddie.

Pretty Sarah Vezmar plays the princess who, with a kiss, wakes up from Oderon’s spell, and gets her man, Prince Ned, (Matthew Wycliffe).

With other cast members, they dance and sing their hearts out in what is a loud and proud rendition of what the Everyman does best – a feel-good raucous night to remember.

-Jeanette Smith


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