Sleeping Beauty

Date 19th January 2024
Society Ellesmere Port Original Pantomime Company
Venue Civic Hall Ellesmere Port
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Gail Roberts
Musical Director Rob Stevens
Choreographer Sue&Lucy Hickman
Producer Gail Roberts


Author: Joanne Rymer

Ellesmere Port Original Pantomime Company

Sleeping Beauty



A full buzzing Civic Hall at Ellesmere Port all anticipating the start of this year’s Pantomime Sleeping Beauty. The audience consists of mums and dads, grandma and granddads, siblings, friends, brownies all gathered to have a fun evening. That is just what we all experienced.

We all know the story of Sleeping Beauty, a classic tale featuring a princess who is magically awakened by a valiant prince, except in this production we have two princes!! Prince Gavin (Lexi Parker) and Prince Fredrick (Megan Jones). The story begins at the christening of the baby Princess Aurora the evil Fairy Queen (Hayley Dale) curses Princess Aurora (Mel Hughes) to die from pricking her finger on a spindle on the eve of her 18th birthday. The good Fairy Twinkle (Sheryl Dean) mitigates the curse so that the princess will only fall into a deep sleep, to be awakened by by a kiss from her real true love. Twinke seekd help to protect the princess from Fairy 1 (Amy Dainty) and Fairy 2 (Shannon Lancashire). Aurora's parents king Phillip (Chris Pacitti) and Queen Mary (Jen Wilne) attempt to protect Aurora by hiding her away with Daisy Chain (Lucy Morris) under the name of Briar Rose, then with the help of Jack (Ian Devereux-Roberts) they remove all spindles from the kingdom. The King orders the court guard led by the Captain (Viv Henson) to keep watch at the castle. Fairy Queen on hearing of Twinkles intervention orders her two henchmen Grunt (Sue Mears) and Snort (Nicola Wheeler) to pursue the plan to capture Aurora. Loved ‘Anything you can Do’ performed by these two very talented performers.

The performances tonight from this group of actors was a joy to watch one or two I need to mention., We all love a panto villain, Hayley was right on the money, great use of the fourth wall, the booing and hissing on her every entrance was a scream, loved her delivery of ‘Born this Way’. Sheryl Dean was hilarious, mislaying the princess continually, she has stage presence in spades, at ease  on stage the audience loved her, together with Ian Devereux-Roberts their delivery of ‘500 Miles’ was a blast. Ian Devereux-Roberts is the quintessential panto character, totally comfortable on stage, wonderful audience participation, had them in the palm of his hands. Fine performance.  l Lucy Morris did a lovely performance as the ‘Dame’ but not a conventional panto one apart from colourful costumes, over the top make-up and hair styles, great rapport with audience, loved the delivery ‘Dear Future Husband’ also I’m still Standing’ well done. Not an easy part to play was Fredrick, he was not the usual panto Prince, Megan brought a comedic touch that this role needed, well done.

This is a well-cast production: Director Gail Roberts chose a very talented team to support her. Choreographers Sue Hickman and her daughter Lucy did an amazing job with this mixed ability chorus, creating both exciting and creative performances. We have the dream team of stage manager Steve Dale, lighting Daniel McAllister, sound Derek Bosely and Gail Roberts wardrobe. Once again, the professional musical direction from the multi-talented Rob Stevens supported by Chris Legerton added up to a truly enjoyable production.

Established in 1934, this is E.P.O.P.C 90TH year, having entertained audiences with a rich array of pantomimes over the years, what an achievement, congratulations to all concerned. The panto genre is a special one, with gender role reversal, a storyline of good vs evil, slapstick comedy, colourful, eccentric costumes, audience participation, and of course a happy ending, that was E.P.O.P.C Sleeping Beauty. Just to mention 'happy ending' Prince Gavin married Aurora and Prince Fredrick made Daisy Chain a happy lady, enough said.

Thank you for inviting me, it was a fabulous evening of fun I really enjoyed it as did the audience. Already looking forward to the next production.


Joanne Rymer


District 4