Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.

Sleeping Beauty

“Winningly anarchic”

The sense of anarchic silliness at Dunfermline’s Alhambra goes hand in hand with the decidedly old-school flavour of this year’s Christmas panto. In a landscape where many of Scotland’s seasonal shows are subtly challenging expectations around what’s expected of a pantomime, regular Alhambra writers Richard Gauntlett and Bill Fletcher have gone for a very traditional take on Sleeping Beauty.

Trad, however, doesn’t mean dull. Quite the opposite, in fact, with an emphasis on comedy and dance set-pieces that largely puts the plot to one side and turns the performance into a madcap variety show.

Under the direction of Bruce Strachan – whose successful 2018 has included promenade show A War of Two Halves around Edinburgh’s Tynecastle Park stadium and You Choose, the stage adaptation of the bestselling children’s book running as part of Edinburgh’s Christmas – the line between anarchy and chaos is held well.

Billy Mack is a commanding dame as Mrs Muddles, a brusque fishwife whose localised Fife patter is well met by Alan Orr’s clowning buffoon and gagman Sully Wullie, and Jo Freer as the sharp-tongued Fairy Merriweather. Helena Mitchell and Craig McDougall play it straight as the star-crossed young lovers Meghan and Harry, and Nikki Auld’s wicked Lady Vipera is as gleefully exaggerated as the part demands.

If a sense of the old-fashioned sometimes prevails, such as in an opening medley of Madness numbers and an extended time-travel sketch featuring classic iterations of Doctor Who, the young audience still responds well to the fast pace, sassy characters and inventive if low-budget set pieces, all augmented by a strong ensemble of young and adult backing dancers.


Related to this Review

Jack and the BeanstalkJack and the Beanstalk

Production Details
Production nameSleeping Beauty
VenueAlhambra Theatre
StartsDecember 7, 2018
EndsDecember 29, 2018
Running time2hrs 30mins
AuthorBill Fletcher, Richard Gauntlett
DirectorBruce Strachan
Musical directorRobert Black
ChoreographerAlanna Paterson
Set designerAlhambra Theatre
Costume designerJudith Fisken
CastAlan Orr, Billy Mack, Craig Mcdougall, Helena Mitchell, Jo Freer, Mark Hayden, Nikki Auld
TechnicalMark Fisken
Production managerCallan Maccormick
ProducerAlhambra Theatre
VerdictOld-fashioned but winningly anarchic take on the classic, which knows its local audience well
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
David Pollock

David Pollock

David Pollock

David Pollock

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Linked In