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Sleeping Beauty review at the Gordon Craig, Stevenage – ‘ingenious’

Sleeping Beauty at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage Sleeping Beauty at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage
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Structuring a romance that spans 100 years is always going to be the biggest problem when creating an original script for Sleeping Beauty. Chris Jordan’s approach, which incorporates among other things time travel, a trumpeting fairy and giant killer sausages might be considered unconventional. In fact, the author has created a rather sophisticated script replete with witty verse and vitally, a believable romance between Gregor Stewart’s gentle Prince Valiant and Daniella Piper’s endearing Princess Belle.

A key ingredient to success here is the live music, led by musical director James Cleeve on piano. The band lends an immediacy to the improvisational comedy, sampling everything from Disney to Michael Buble to ensure that Jordan’s eloquent script is complemented by a meaty score.

In turn, the cast includes particularly accomplished vocalists from the juvenile leads through to a bellowing Paul Bentley as King Clarence. Wendi Peters works extremely hard for her top billing and in return, the Gordon Craig gets one of the best pantomime villains on the circuit. An immensely versatile performer, Peters is a gloriously wicked, thoroughly dramatic Carabosse belting out some of the best numbers in the show and almost out-tap dancing Nicola Bryan’s Fairy Fortywinks.

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A clever script, ingenious structure and some stunning vocals prove that this creative team means business