Sleeping beauty

Date 24th March 2024
Society Theatre4All
Venue The Gladstone Village Hall Burton
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Liz Sharpe
Musical Director Nikki Ruscoe
Choreographer April Collings & Alison Brown
Written By Ben Crocker


Author: Joanne Rymer

Sleeping Beauty



Theatre4All perform at Gladstone Village Hall Burton, they are an inclusive group, whose aim is to have fun and entertain. The hall was buzzing in anticipation, full of local residents, Mums & Dads and siblings, looking forward to the performance of Sleeping Beauty the most loved and performed pantomime.

Sleeping Beauty is a classic fairy tale featuring a Princess (Jennifer Rebecca Tyler) who after an evil spell is magically awakened by the kiss of a valiant Prince (Sophie Fellows). The main theme is the idea that true love conquers all, and that good will always triumph over evil, and of course the compulsory happy ending.

The pantomime dame is a traditional role in pantomime, the must haves: look dazzling in a dress, marvellous over the top make-up, fluttery lashes and exaggerated lipstick, a sense of humour which is cheeky and fuelled with saucy innuendos. Theatre4All has Queen Dorathy (Ryan Williams) a splendid performance from this talented young man Well Done. We are welcomed to the pantomime with the full cast including adult chorus, Elle, Tina and Celia, led by Willy (Craig Mahoney) his partner Billy (James Tyler) with the song ‘Happy’. We are introduced to Kitty (Craig Manning) the palace cat who curls up at the side of the set. Lovely rendition of ‘What’s new Pussycat?) from Ryan and the youngsters Charlotte, Aurora, Abby, Alyssa, Scarlett, Morgan and Amber.

At the Palace plans are underway for Princess Aurora’s christening. Her proud parents King Norbert (Eric Roberts) and his wife Queen Dorathy are looking forward to the celebration.  We all love a panto villain - we have three!! Carrabosse (Julie Withe) the evil fairy and her sidekicks Spindleshanks the Cat (Alison Brown) Snot (Liz Sharp) descends on the party casting her wicked curse. that on her 18th birthday the Princess will prick her finger causing her death. Enter the Good Fairy; once again we have four: Fairy Peaceful (Kathy Daily) together with Fairy Graceful (Binny Williams), Fairy Beautiful (Yvonne Ross) Fairy Thoughtful (Bernie Donaghue) intercept Carrabosse’s evil spell, ensuring that on her birthday the Princess falls into a deep sleep for 100 years, only to be awakened by a kiss from her one true love. After a long search Prince Orlando (Sophie Fellows) finally meets the Princess and awakens her with a kiss. Sophie has a strong voice, her delivery of ‘100’ was lovely.

Director Liz Sharpe, who on short notice played the character Snot, I have to say did a great job with this comedic character.  April Collings and Alison Brown did well with the choreography for what was a mixed ability cast, also a restricted space. Well, Done. Costumes were splendid. Always important in community panto is the music, Nikki Ruscoe (Musical Director and Piano) and her merry band, Steve Rooney (Bass Guitar) and Chris Legerton (Drums) were so supportive, never overpowering the performers. The highlights for me; ‘Trouble’ and ‘Thriller’ Julie, Alison and Liz, and the youngsters, Dream Sequence Binny, Yvonne, Kathy and Bernie.

As I say a happy ending is compulsory in any pantomime King Norbert and Queen Dorothy endorse the marriage of Prince Orlando and Princess Aurora, Carabosse and sidekicks see the error of their ways and become good citizens, and the kingdom is happy once more.

This is the second pantomime I have seen from this unique all-inclusive community group. It is unfortunate that they had a number of unforeseen circumstances resulting in some scenes in the show being noticeably under-rehearsed.  It may help in the future to introduce group workshops and script ‘gabbles’, I feel that this will improve the overall delivery of future productions. Praise to Ryan Willaims who visibly prompted his fellow cast when possible, I also need to mention Nikki’s resourceful support for the members of the cast searching for their lines.

The Gladstone Village Hall Burton hosted a full audience of local community, family and friends who really embraced this production, it was full of fun.

Thank you for inviting me, I am already looking forward to the next production.



Joanne Rymer


District 4