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Sleeping Beauty review at Ferneham Hall, Fareham – ‘funny and fast-paced’

The cast of Sleeping Beauty in Fareham
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Robert McWhir’s traditional staging of Sleeping Beauty benefits from a number of strong performances and some powerful singing. It’s a funny, fast-paced show with some very effective local references.

David Dobson gives his all as Chester the Jester, his performance driving the show along. Sarah Moss, as Fairy Fortywinks, has an excellent singing voice and Paul Bentley, as King Clarence, delights and surprises the audience with his vocal range. Mark Siney, making a welcome return to Fareham as Nellie Night-Nurse, makes the most of his many comedy opportunities. His cooking routine with Dobson – who is at times reminiscent of a young Bobby Davro – is one of the production’s highlights.

Kay Purcell, familiar from TV’s Tracey Beaker, pitches her turn as Carabosse well, particularly in regards to the younger members of the audience. Noel Sullivan, formerly of Hear’Say, makes a dashing Prince Valiant with a versatile voice and a sense of fun. Carol Hefferman, as Princess Belle, is also entertaining, especially in duets with Sullivan. The big company number is the Time Warp, which is performed with energy and gusto.

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Traditional panto with modern touches that should please all age groups