Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Kent News Sleeping Beauty Review

My Sleeping Beauty write up is still a work in progress but I have come across this excellent review on the Kent News website.

It was written by Chris Britcher and I'm not at all surprised to hear he thoroughly enjoyed this years panto. I honestly can't believe anyone would have anything but good things to say about this show.

You'll notice that just like many Legally Blonde reviews Faye Brookes is singled out for special praise. Princess Aurora is a completely different role to Elle Woods but Faye's transition from Malibu sweetheart to Disney Princess is seamless.

Here's the review:

Sleeping Beauty Review
Kent News - 5th December 2012

Writing a pantomime can be no easy task. There before you sits an audience as diverse as Alec Guinness’ CV and all with the expectation that their hard-earned money spent on the tickets will deliver laughs and pratfalls a-plenty.

With that in mind, there’s also the added complication of weaving in the particular talents of your eclectic cast – drawn from a wide variety of showbusiness disciplines – and still make sure you don’t lose sight of driving the storyline along.

Oh, and to remain fresh year-after-year.

All of which gives me a new respect for the husband-and-wife team of Paul Hendy and Emily Wood – the creative brains behind the regular knees-up at the Marlowe Theatre; the glass-fronted jewel in the cultural crown of arts-rich Canterbury.

Because Sleeping Beauty manages to knit a coat capable of warming the cockles of the heart of young and old alike and the disparate senses of humour of the ticket-paying masses.

With the exception of one scene – an over long skit about losing memory and loss of hearing when you get old – the script is tighter than Ebenezer Scrooge’s wallet and pelts along at a merry pace.

Toyah Willcox is an excellent Carabosse, endlessly eliciting boos and jeers as her character looks to kill the young princess.

Rising star Faye Brookes is a genuine force to be reckoned with as the title character, and her vocal performance was spot on. So good, in fact, it often frequently out-shone Gareth Gates as Prince Charming – a thoroughly likeable hero who made up in warmth for what he perhaps lacked in charisma.

Ben Roddy once again steps into the considerable shoes of the late, great Dave Lee as the pantomime dame, and proves himself more than capable of emulating his predecessor.

There are several well managed set-pieces – a Laurel & Hardy-esque bathroom scene, a clever and super fast-paced section based around the names of singers and bands, and the arrival of the dragon is one not to miss, nor to spoil here.

In short, Sleeping Beauty delivers across the board. It’s packed with songs, dance, humour and warmth, all wrapped up in a production and script which has clearly been well crafted by a team who know how to deliver.

It truly is family fun of the highest standard and, thank goodness, delivers value for money. If the economic gloom is getting you down – this is the perfect pick-me-up.

Sleeping Beauty runs at the Marlowe Theatre until January 20.

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