Sleeping Beauty review at Swan Theatre, Worcester – ‘charmingly old-fashioned’
The Swan’s Sleeping Beauty eschews trendiness for the traditional and time-honoured. Its unashamed romanticism and lyricism is counterpointed by quite preposterous panto-damery and audience participation.
Fidelity to the spirit of the tale and an engaging narrative clarity are assets here. Chris Jaeger’s vision of the story dispenses with pyrotechnics and freneticism for something altogether more innocent and gentle. Pastel shades predominant in the sets and costumes, and this is echoed in the sensitive authenticity of the acting.
The choreography is vibrant and Mick Gemson’s lighting is hauntingly atmospheric. The only concession to contemporary hi-tech is a superb UV puppet sequence. Rick Godsall’s score provides bewitching musical colour to drive the dance and enrich the musical drama.
Dame and director, Ben Humphrey gives the show a pulsating pace and projection and the acting throughout is impeccable. Victoria Lucie’s Aurora is captivating, Tom Riddell’s Prince Valiant suitably dashing and a vital and hissable note of villainy is provided Liz Grand’s wicked fairy, Carabosse. Humphrey delights and embarrassing the audience as Dame Ginny while Oliver Brooks as Silly Billy charms, cajoles and cavorts outrageously.