Review: Sleeping Beauty. Nottingham Playhouse.

For a top quality, totally energetic treat of a pantomime experience get yourselves down to Nottingham Playhouse for this year’s terrific Sleeping Beauty offering.

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For Nottingham audience regulars there are all the fantastic performers you grow to look forward to seeing each year and the wonderfully likeable and talented John Elkington once again proves himself/herself to be quite probably the best panto dame in the country. We are so lucky lucky lucky. Actually, boys and girls, mums and dads, there is no quite probably. Elkington is the best!

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Whether Elkington’s Nurse Tilly Trott is serenading us with a succession of popular songs, doing a genuinely funny piece about cooking a rabbit, slipping on another OTT frock or wittily interacting with the audience or cast members he is a proper star and worth the admission price alone. This audience totally love him. Kenneth Alan Taylor’s Sleeping Beauty script and direction keeps things fresh and energetic.

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Sleeping Beauty has less story diverting slapstick than previous, differently styled pantomimes and works the better for it. There is still plenty of silliness to enjoy including those fabulously characterful human-sized dancing rabbits. There are two talented young chorus teams providing much of the choreography, buzz and drive of the show. The press night chorus team is the Blue Team and every one of them sparkles with professionalism.

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Back again this year are the energetic, comically gifted and talented trio Tim Frater (Jerry the Jester), Rebecca Little (Queen Gertrude) and Darren Southworth (King Hubert). This Nottingham Playhouse audience greets each one like old friends and adores their daft antics. They never disappoint year after year and like the rest of the cast, band and crew they will light up the stage from day one to the closing performance.

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Additional to the regular stalwarts Sleeping Beauty is graced with some lovely new acting, singing and dancing faces and talents. These are Lisa Ambalalvanar as a delightfully petite and engaging Fairy Wisheart, Maddie Harper as the central Sleeping Beauty character the forthright and lovable Princess Rosalind. Louise Dalton shines as a super thigh slapping romantic lead Prince Alexander and Toyin Ayedun-Alase is an unforgettable and very boo-able baddie Maleficent.

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Of course it wouldn’t be a Nottingham Playhouse super high quality pantomime without the musical talents of John Morton and his band; Tim Meacock’s fantastic stage and costume design; Jason Taylor’s exquisite lighting and Adam P McCready’s sharper than sharp sound design. Adele Parry’s rattling choreography completes the picture.

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The Nottingham Playhouse building, inside and out, looks as pretty as Santa’s grotto this year and Sleeping Beauty is no dozy affair. In fact audiences young and old will experience a spring in their hearts that not even the evil fairy Maleficent can expunge. And did we mention the dancing rabbits are back once again? We totally love the dancing rabbits!

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Photo credit; Pamela Raith

Sleeping Beauty runs at Nottingham Playhouse 22 Nov 2019 – 11 Jan 2020

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