Sleeping Beauty

Date 12th January 2024
Society Hoylake & West Kirby Theatre Group
Venue Gladstone Theatre
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Dawn Smith & Jamie Brown
Musical Director Jeff Broadbere
Choreographer Rebecca Smith
Producer Jamie Moran

Report

Author: Joanne Rymer

Sleeping Beauty

Hoylake &West Kirby

12/01/24

 

What could be better than a Pantomime on a bitterly cold winter evening at the Gladstone Theatre? H.A.W.K had a well-deserved full house as the audience eagerly awaited the evening performance. Sleeping Beauty is a classic fairy tale featuring a princess who is magically awakened by a valiant prince. The main theme is the idea that true love conquers all, and that good will always triumph over evil. In a magical kingdom, plans are underway for Princess Rose’s christening. Her proud parents King Clarence (Alan Earl) and his wife Queen Clarence (Les Broadbere) looking forward to the celebration. Carrabosse (Kate Harcus) the evil fairy descends on the party casting a wicked curse, that on her 18th birthday Princess Rose will prick her finger causing her death. Iridessa (Jenny Hough) the good fairy intercepts Carrabosse’s evil spell, ensuring that on her birthday the Princess falls into a deep sleep, only to be awakened by a kiss from her one true love. Dottie and Chester gather all the spinning wheels in the Kingdom so Princess Rose will be safe. On hearing her spell has been derailed and the loss of spinning wheels, Carrabosse plots with Corvus her Raven (Johnathan McAdams) to ensure the princess pricks her finger and falls asleep. Praise to Johnathan for his portrayal of the Raven, it was superb, you were transfixed watching his elegant bird like movements, communicating by screech like sounds, amazing. His talent knew no bounds, his dancing leading the raven scene was lovely. One to watch for the future.

Directors Dawn Smith and Jamie Brown produced a warm and modern imaginative panto, perfect casting, strong tech support, lighting Jamie Moran, sound Elliot Tutt, stage crew managed by Richie Clarke and the wonderful Rose Evans and her team produces simply amazing colourful costumes. The staging of this production was splendid, with imaginative use of front lighting allowing flawless scene changes unseen by the audience, extremely clever. Live music is essential to a panto, Jeff Broadbere and his extremely talented band, did a fabulous job, never overpowering the cast or the individual singers Louise Gleave, Gemma Rigby and Nicky Brown. A highlight for me was the dancing ravens, it was simply spectacular.

The pantomime dame is a traditional role in British pantomime, the must haves: look dazzling in a dress, marvellous over the top make-up, fluttery lashes and exaggerated lipstick, elaborate head wear a sense of humour which is cheeky and fuelled with saucy innuendos. Enter Dame Dottie Drawers (Jamie Brown), what an entrance it was. What a character Jamie is, the centre of the comedy encouraging audience participation to keep everyone laughing. Accomplished performance. Dottie Drawers introduces us to her son Chester Drawers (Anna Charles) what a cracking panto name, inspirational.  Anna played Chester with amazing energy and comic timing, classic panto dialogue, frequently breaking the fourth wall to gossip with the audience, confiding to them his love for Princess Rose, a very fine performance. What we know as an ideal panto prince is strong, handsome, sensitive, funny, utterly faithful, and completely unrealistic. Who indeed is the princesses ‘one true love’ to awake her with a kiss. After an exhaustive search for a suitable suitor, we meet Prince Florizel (Jon Croft). Jon is a tour de force as the outrageously camp Prince, a unique interpretation of the panto character splendidly delivered with such personality and humour,  such stage presence, the audience loved him. Fine performance, Jon.

Now we all know that it is compulsory a pantomime has a happy ending, the audience were on the edge of their seats for the ‘kiss’ which would awaken the sleeping princessI hope I am not being a spoiler; however, Chester also found his true love, awakening her with a kiss, now we have Prince Florizel, all I can say is Dame Dottie Drawers is a very happy lady.

Sleeping Beauty is blessed with a wonderful cast, enjoyable songs and numerous funny moments for all of the family to enjoy. We all know that any production is more than the principals, the full company at H.A.W.K give their all to this show, seeing happy smiling faces is a joy to any theatre audience. Already looking forward to the next production.

Thank you for inviting me it was a lovely evening of entertaining live theatre. I am already looking forward to the next production.

 

Joanne Rymer

NODA

District 4