11th January 2018
Spennymoor Town Hall
Type of Production
Eric Hickson (assistant Karen Butler)
Author: Peter Oliver
Sleeping Beauty is the age old tale of the beautiful Princess Aurora who is cursed by the evil Charcoal fairy for not being invited to the royal christening and, as consequence, declares that on her 17th birthday the Princess will prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel causing her to die, whilst the evil spell cannot be broken the Diamond Fairy is yet to declare her gift to the young princess and declares that she will not die but go into a deep sleep only to be awakened by true love’s kiss. Spennymoor Stage and Song delivered a sterling job bringing this classic tale to life, this pantomime written by Ron Hall maybe a little thin in terms of its aging script but the production team blew off the cobwebs and brought the pantomime up to date and what was certain, on the performance that I saw, was the sure commitment and determination of the cast to ensure that this classic tale came to life and entertained the audience.
Under the direction of Eric Hickson and supported by the assistant director Karen Butler they ensured that the skills and talents of each individual member of the cast delivered a first class performance. Choreography was in the capably hands of Ann Marie Clayton, I particularly enjoyed the routine to “The Sun Has Got His Hat On” which was well executed and well delivered. Music as always was delivered by Martyn Jones and his Town Band great choice of music and the songs chosen to support the pantomime were appropriate and as always well delivered. Special mention to the production team, lighting and sound were good and the set was fantastic, the back cloths were out of this world painted by Eric and could have been at home in any west end theatre and congratulations to wardrobe the costumes were excellent and finally a big thank you to the front of house team managed by De Hickson for their kindness and hospitality.
Liam Etherington delivered a splendid performance as Jack, great rapport with the audience and everyone on stage and delivered his musical numbers well, I particularly enjoyed the opening number “The Pantomime Tonight” with Nausea and chorus and the panto sing along to the iconic Proclaimers “500 Miles”. Claire Warren delivered a very energetic Nausea, a lady of the court and totally in love with Jack, great stage performance and vocals. Playing the browbeaten, Horlicks drinking King Timorous was George Morgan Watson who was referred to as useful as a chocolate teapot, again great stage presence and good characterisation I enjoyed his musical numbers “Join the Circus” with Queen Bossanova played by Ann Marie Clayton who had been on the throne for 20 years without any relief, this was an excellent pairing with great stage presence and Ann Marie delivered her musical solo number “Cavatina” fantastically, great vocals.
Lord Chamberlain was played by Christopher Jones and he certainly controlled the court with his powerful presence. Princess Aurora was beautifully played by Jayne Etherington, the heroine role suited her well with good stage presence and she delivered her musical numbers well I especially liked “I just haven’t Met You Yet”. She had a lovely on stage relationship with Prince Rupert who was dashingly played by Eve Angstmann who delivered her role confidently and again had great vocals bringing lots of strength to the role. Lucy Lastic, the royal nurse maid and panto dame was played by Adrian Ranyard-Lant this was a great role and Adrian gave his all to engage with the audience I loved his musical numbers especially “I Want To Break Free” there was good performances and vocals from Alex Graham as Frederick, Prince Rupert’s companion and Lucy Greathead playing Morticia, the Charcoal fairy’s assistant. Karen Butler is no stranger to the stage this year she brought all her experience to the role of the baddy, Charcoal Fairy again great stage presence and plenty of evilness causing the audience to respond with the usual boos and hisses, I particularly enjoyed the choreography and delivery of her musical number “Bad”. Playing the parts of the good fairies were Sophie Priestley as Amethyst Fairy, great vocals I loved her rendition of beautiful Guys and Dolls number “More I Cannot Wish You” Molly Hall as Gold Fairy, Georgia Cooke as Emerald Fairy, Holly Tupling as Ruby Fairy and Bethany Hitchen as the principal Diamond Fairy who saved the day and delivered the beautiful vocal musical number “Hushabye Mountain”
No show is complete without the ensemble and this cast were all fully committed to the production and clearly had a great time on stage, congratulations to Heidi Angstmann, Lola Billingham, Alex Catterson, Georgia Cooke, Lucy Greathead, Molly Hall, Susan Marley, Abbie Newman, Sophie Priestley, Jessica Riley, Susan Rogers, Dilian Sample, Rhys Sample, Paul Simpson Margaret Thompson and Holly Tupling for ensuring that Spennymoor Stage and Song’s 2017 pantomime was a great success, well done to everyone involved.