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Sleeping Beauty

“Some comic miscalculations”

Chipping Norton Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty takes its audience time-travelling from 1567 to 1967. John Terry’s engaging production slickly incorporates all the beloved elements of panto, as well as catchy songs and meticulous design.

The choice of period settings is never really explained beyond the production’s flower theme (Tudor rose and flower power). But they provide a rich canvas for lavish costume designs, including an awe-inspiring Elizabeth I costume for the pantomime dame Nanny Fanny (Eamonn Fleming).

Erica Guyatt stands out from a solid cast as the deliciously evil Belladonna Bindweed. Her tango-inspired song ‘Ballad of Belladonna’, with accompanying marionette-like choreography, is a highlight of the first half. Harry Sever’s music, which quotes from a variety of genres and vaguely familiar songs, is a key ingredient of the comedy. Lucy Penrose gives a vocally strong performance as the romantic but rebellious Princess Rose. In the second half, writer Andrew Pollard reverses the traditional gender dynamics of the fairytale and Rose sets out to rescue her boyfriend.

A couple of scenes that depend on visual gags go on too long and fall flat; the pacing of the first half is, on the whole, a little slow. However, it picks up in the second half when Pollard carries on where the Sleeping Beauty writer left off. The theatrical high point of the production is a hilarious and inventive use of live video to depict a perilous rescue mission. Such staging innovations provide a welcome lift to the telling of this familiar story.

Production Details
Production nameSleeping Beauty
VenueChipping Norton Theatre
LocationChipping Norton
StartsNovember 14
EndsJanuary 14
Running time2hr 20mins
AuthorAndrew Pollard
ComposerHarry Sever
DirectorJohn Terry
Musical directorAlexander Maynard
ChoreographerHelen Carpenter
Set designerMax Dorey
Costume designerEmily Stuart
Lighting designerJohn Bishop
Sound designerSamuel Collier
Video designerSamuel Collier
CastAlfie Arnold, Anna Griffiths, Arthur Mackintosh, Bea Holland, Beth Allen, Caitlin Bayliss, Christian James, Connor Bannister. The Pippins: Millie Eyles, Delilah Wilson, Eamonn Fleming, Emily Jones, Emily Ridgeway, Erica Guyatt, Loxie Childes, Lucy Penrose, Nia Avenell, Paul Tonkin, Tilly Ross
TechnicalFergus Nimmo, Jo Hotchkiss, Laura Le Bayon, Liam Tranter, Paul Smith, Pippa Kay, Rachel Luff, Rebecca Clark, Sam O’Grady, Sarah Baker, Tom Baum, Valerie Moyses
Production managerJames Anderson
Stage managerLaura Stone, Suzie Foster
ProducerEmily Moseley
VerdictImpressive visuals and creative direction compensate for some comic miscalculations
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