Saturday, 8 December 2012

My Sleeping Beauty Adventure

It was back in July that I first heard that Faye would be appearing in Sleeping Beauty this Christmas but at that stage I didn't think I was likely to go. I'd only ever been to one or two panto's in my life and they were as a very young boy over 20 years ago.

However, as the Legally Blonde Tour neared its Wimbledon finale the thought of missing out on an opportunity to see Faye sparkle in a new role was too much and I purchased my tickets. Not only for the opening weekend but also the final show on January 20th.

Canterbury is actually a 400 mile round trip from my home in Bristol so I booked two nights accommodation giving me time to look around this beautiful Kent city before the show.

It really is one of the most picturesque places in England with its quaint cobbled streets, ancient buildings and impressive cathedral. Faye couldn't really be situated anywhere nicer over the festive season.

The theatre itself is fairly central and on the banks of the river Stour but in contrast to most buildings in the city it's actually ultra modern having only opened about 12 month's ago. It reminded me a little of one of my favourite theatre's, the Wales Millennium Centre where I saw Legally Blonde back in the summer.

So the location and theatre were absolutely perfect but what about the show?

Well let's just say I'm counting the days until I go back and see it again.

Before I start I must warn you I'm going to struggle to remember even a quarter of this amazing show, it was so action packed with non stop, laugh a minute content. You really do have to see it, and probably more than once to truly appreciate just how much they cram in.

Lloyd Hollett - very accomplished as Jangles - and Katrina Bryan - a sweet Scottish Fairy Moonbeam - start by getting the audience involved in the show; and they really didn't need much encouragement.

Then the story begins at Princess Aurora's christening where bad witch Carabosse - played by the excellent Toyah Wilcox - puts a curse on the Princess; cackling that she'll die after pricking her finger on a spinning wheel on her 18th Birthday.

We then jump forward over 17 years and Faye bursts onto the stage - looking every inch a Princess - with a stunning rendition of Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City's feel good track 'Good Time'; FAR better than the original in my opinion and very appropriate because I can assure you a 'Good Time' was had by all.

Gareth Gates was the perfect Prince Charming and it wasn't long before he made his first appearance; much to the delight of many females in the audience; and one guy in the front row according to Jangles ;)  Unfortunately for them he only had eyes for Beauty and with the help of the King, Jangles and the terrific Ben Roddy as Nurse Nessie, he vows to keep the Princess safe.

The King was supposed to have destroyed all the spinning wheels in the castle but as the audience reminded them on numerous occasions with chants of "EXCEPT FOR ONE!", that wasn't the case.

As the story moved on there were some brilliant songs and many included glittering performances by Faye. Her 'Come What May' duet with Gareth was simply breath-taking; mad props to both <3 br="br">

There was even a classroom scene where Faye gets to wear a 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' Britney Spears-esque school uniform. Faye, of course looks SO MUCH BETTER : -)

There were far too many jokes to remember but the sequence in which Hollett and Roddy pull LP sleeves out of a barrow and pun on the names of pop groups is one to treasure.

Act one comes to a close with the inevitable finger prick. However thanks to Fairy Moonbeam it's just a VERY long sleep and not death for Princess Aurora. Assuming that is she gets a kiss from her true love, Prince Charming.

The audience has barely had time to get their breath back before Act 2 starts and we jump forward another 100 years.

There's heaps more fun and games including the Laurel & Hardy-esque bathroom scene mentioned in the Kent News review as Jangles and Nurse Nessie try to retrieve the magic gold axe from the castle.

Thanks to Carabose they need this to cut through the brambles that surround the tower where the Princess sleeps. Although they fail to find the golden axe, a silver one does the job and Prince Michael reaches Beauty just in time for her kiss.

Princess Aurora is soon confronted with Carabose's dragon which is alarmingly convincing, with flashing green eyes. However he's no match for Faye who quickly slays the dragon, announcing "it's amazing what you can do after a good nights sleep" : -)

So we get the happy ending we all knew we would but there is still time for more singing and dancing before the curtain comes down.

The Sleeping Beauty panto in Canterbury really is sensational and if you can get to the Marlowe Theatre before it ends on January 20th I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

After the show I headed to the stage door and to say it was cold would be an understatement, when I got back to my car it told me the temperature was -3. Luckily I didn't have to wait too long

As you can see from the picture at the top of my post - taken by Gareth Gates - Faye was looking A-May-Zing !! Loving the earmuffs, SO cute : )

Despite the freezing weather she was happy to chat and was as friendly and adorable as ever.

@Faye_Brookes@GasAttacK:@Faye_Brookes after Sleeping Beauty panto in Canterbury. for coming Andy!

It was fantastic to see her in a new show, performing new songs and I'm glad I had the opportunity to tell her how much I loved her performance. She truly was mesmorizing.

She was the perfect Elle Woods and I'm happy to say she's also the perfect Princess Aurora. In fact I don't think Princess Aurora has ever looked or sounded so good ;) You can certainly see why everyone calls her Beauty.

So it's 43 Days, that's 1032 Hours or 61920 Minutes before I'll be heading back to Canterbury to see this stupendous show again. That's hardly any time at all : -)

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