An impressive, princely flight through time and space means this pantomime Beauty doesn’t have to spend too long slumbering. In fact, she comes within seconds of avoiding the unfortunate spindle incident altogether, but for some magnificent maleficence of a terrifically bad fairy.
High production values create moments of open-mouthed wonder. Quality stage flying techniques have Marc Baylis as the handsome prince somersaulting through the stars and defeating a dragon to win his girl. Great wafts of dry ice and flame-throwing explosions herald the appearances of the twinkly good fairy Sonia, whose bubbliness knows no bounds, is made for pantomime, or her darkly glittering adversary Carabosse played pneumatically by ace cackler Zoe Birkett.
Traditional fillers, such as the slapstick cooking scene and rather limp comedy exchanges involving the king and cheeky chappy Silly Billy Bruce Montague and Jamie Rickers are both let down by atrocious jokes, detract from the high-octane action. Nonetheless, Bobby Crush is good value as Nurse Nelly, going through a dizzying confection of costumes and turning up the camp dial, but everyone’s waiting for him to get his hands on a piano. With great Dame Crush tickling the ivories, and the exuberant ensemble looking good on the royal dance floor, the production, belatedly, soars.
- Churchill Theatre Bromley, London
- November 28-January 4, PN December 2
- Author: Andrew Ryan
- Director: Alison Pollard
- Design: Nev Milsom lighting, Ed Brimley sound
- Musical director: Phil Hornsey
- Choreographer: Dean Street
- Technical: Andy Batty production manager, Natalie Cole company stage manager, Titch Macleod deputy stage manager
- Cast includes: Marc Baylis, Zoe Birkett, Bobby Crush, Bruce Montague, Jamie Rickers, Sonia, Sophia Thierens
- Producer: Martin Dodd for UK Productions
- Running time: 2hrs 30mins
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