dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Sleeping Beauty review at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre – ‘big energy and silly banter’

Debbie McGee and Richard Cadell with Sooty in Sleeping Beauty at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Photo: Tim Thursfield

Benefiting from a serious dose of kids’ TV nostalgia, Sleeping Beauty at Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre is a warm-hearted pleasure.

Director Ian Adams shapes the production around his cast’s assorted variety acts, showcasing some elegant ballroom dance breaks, and replacing most of traditional panto’s hoariest routines with a succession of slick, increasingly impressive magic tricks.

As enthusiastic a foil as you could hope for, Richard Cadell steals the show as canny jester Muddles, thanks largely to mischievous, fondly remembered glove puppets Sooty and Sweep – who bring the house down at one point with a squealing rendition of Nessun Dorma. Though Cadell keeps the energy big and the banter silly, his interactions with the child volunteers drawn from the audience are delightfully gentle.

Debbie McGee evidently enjoys herself as Fairy Crystal, loading her lines with breathless ad libs, while local comic Doreen Tipton gets great laughs with her appealingly offbeat character comedy.

Kelvin Towse’s score features a cheerful mix of tapdance jazz and well-curated pop, which breaks into cinematic melodrama at key moments. When a massive, budget-consuming dragon takes flight over the audience’s heads, the effect is suitably heightened by the burst of tense strings that accompany it.

https://www.thestage.co.uk/pantomime/

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
Familiar fairytale that feels fresh thanks to an endearing cast
^