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Sleeping Beauty review at Richmond Theatre, London – ‘amiable comedy’

Maureen Lipman in Sleeping Beauty at Richmond Theatre. Photo: Craig Sugden Maureen Lipman in Sleeping Beauty at Richmond Theatre. Photo: Craig Sugden
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There’s a sense of deja-vu about this Sleeping Beauty that has nothing to do with returning visits from either Chris Jarvis as Chester the Jester or Matt Rixon as Dame. It’s probably more to do with the story itself and Eric Potts’ potted version of it, which goes through the motions of storytelling, while allowing the comedians to work their individual magic on the scenes.

This is the show with the time shift – or, in this case, the Time Warp – and choreographer Katherine Iles’ company help maintain the brisk pace set by Jarvis’ amiable comedy. Lauren Hood as Beauty and Dan Partridge as the Prince have strong, characterful voices but they get far too little stage time together to gather any rapport and director Chris Jarvis has evidently decided to burlesque the love story, rather than allow it any substance.

Maureen Lipman as Carabosse makes a sparkling, classical villain, part vamp, part vampire, slinking through I Wanna Be Evil. There are lots of references to her career and her running gag as an off-key vocalist may remind theatregoers of her turn as Florence Foster Jenkins in Glorious! Lipman’s biggest gag of the evening, however, is visual, when she is transformed into an instantly recognisable facsimile of Teresa May.

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Verdict
Run-of-the-mill pantomime boasting an effective villain but lacking any stand-out effects
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