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Sleeping Beauty (South Shields)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Dubbed as “the little panto with the big heart”, this production of Sleeping Beauty is indeed just that. What it lacks in special effects and celebrity endorsement it makes up for in professionalism, enthusiasm and simple pantomime fayre.

Ray Spencer excels in his role as South Tyneside favourite, Tommy, and with comedy partner Bob Stott as Dame Dotty by his side, the pair steal the show with innuendo filled banter and slapstick humour.

The traditional story of spinning wheels and a true love’s kiss has a North East makeover and local jokes and pyrotechnics keep the audience on their toes. With a particularly clever Geordie version of Beyonce’s Single Ladies from Stott and Graham Overton (King Street), there’s plenty more song and dance routines to entertain all.

Lucy Rafton returns to the Customs House as the Princess and is well received and Afnan Ifitkhar shines on his professional stage debut. The villains of the piece, Peter Darrant (Evil Chancellor) and Helen Embleton (Narcissis) need only peep on stage to get the required boo from a willing audience.

At times it felt like we’d stumbled into an old friend’s lounge, such was the engaging nature of the cast to the audience. But that’s what a pantomime is all about and the cast eagerly deliver the right level of professionalism and lack of it to make this a most entertaining experience. But it is Spencer and Stott who make, and steal, the show.


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