dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Sleeping Beauty review at Buxton Opera House – ‘wittily scripted’

James Holmes and Jessica Revell in Sleeping Beauty at Buxton Opera House James Holmes and Jessica Revell in Sleeping Beauty at Buxton Opera House
by -

Johnathan Tweedie is a brilliant baddie. His Maleficent is magnificent. His delivery is faultless, his singing voice fine and his performance a joy to behold.

Yet that’s not to say the Buxton Opera House pantomime is a one-trick pony affair. Despite necessary budgetary restraints faced by all smaller producers, it scores well in all departments and benefits hugely from Philip Dart’s witty and intelligent script, stuffed with puns, topical references and local colour. And despite sticking to the familiar story, he has managed to smoothly introduce a time travelling element, courtesy of mad professor King Bertram (Alasdair Baker) enabling the narrative to wander into different decades. This lets them reprise some 1980s hits and fashions.

A potentially clever laboratory-based slapstick scene falls rather flat, but James Holmes is a delightfully comic Dame Nanny Nora, eliciting plenty of laughs without going over the top, and Matthew Jay Ryan’s Billy is adab hand at audience participation. Jessica Revell is a sweet-voiced Sleeping Beauty, Princess Aurora and the team of clearly well-trained local dancers are an added joy.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Verdict
Wittily-scripted and winningly performed pantomime featuring a standout performance from Johnathan Tweedie
^