Sleeping Beauty

Date 22nd December 2016
Society In Your Face Theatre (Seaham)
Venue Seaham Town Hall
Type of Production Pantomine
Director Brian Leach
Choreographer Sarah Booth


Author: Peter Oliver

This traditional pantomime based on a well loved fairy story was the first choice for In your Face Theatre’s first pantomime and for me this was a perfect choice to show off their skills and talent. Another first for this group was its director Brian Leach, whilst no stranger to directing it was his first for In your Face Theatre and strangely enough his first pantomime and in my opinion he delivered a first class performance. Written by members of the group, Nathan Vose and Jan Reece this pantomime followed the traditional age old tale of a princess cursed at birth by an evil witch who on her eighteenth birthday pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep only to be awoken by a true loves kiss, but for anyone who knows this group, following tradition is not in their vocabulary and they always seem to think outside the box and deliver to their audience a first class performance and for me was no exception.

Chorography was in the capable hands of Sarah Booth and throughout the show the dance numbers enhanced the show. The choice of music for pantomimes is always important and the director’s choice for this show was excellent as it not only supported the story but brought this traditional aged pantomime up to date with some great music numbers. The set was well designed for the limited space as was the lighting and sound; costumes were bright bringing colour to the overall performance and enhanced the individual characters.
The production was narrated throughout by Norma Ord as she set the scene her enthusiasm and interaction with the audience was evident from start to finish. She introduced the audience at the beginning of the show to the cast with the opening musical number “Reach for the stars”. a perfect choice for this traditional pantomime. Peter Round gave a sterling performance as King James and worked well with Catherine Hillam as Queen Lily. In the title role of Sleeping Beauty was Princess Amelia played by Chelsea Marie Tune excellent stage presence and characterisation and she delivered her musical number “Kiss Me” beautifully I also enjoyed her duet with Pickles “Marry Me”. lovely interaction between these characters. David Jackson made an excellent Dame as Cook Ducky who described herself as sweet and nutty, excellent rapport with the audience and I loved the fact that the costumes became more flamboyant and outrageous as the pantomime unfolded bringing the character to life; Musically I loved the dames number ”Nobody does it like me” this was well delivered and to the audiences delight.

Playing Pickles Cook Ducky’s son was the talented Jon Reece, good stage presence and again I loved his solo number “That’s what makes you beautiful” and I particularly enjoyed the Ghost scene performed with Cook Ducky to the musical number “Together, Wherever We Go”. The fairies were excellently played by Alexandra Cox as Marigold the Queen of the fairies, loved her solo “ Nothing going to harm you” Floella played by Lia Challoner, Felicia played by Amelia Lambert and Sharon played by Liz Sergeant the Geordie Learner fairy who at the end of the show receives her wings - great characterisation - I personally loved this character.

Now in every pantomime there is always a baddie and for In Your Face Theatre this came in the character of Lucretia the bad fairy, wickedly played by Stephanie Louise Peacock she had the audience booing in all the right places, great characterisation and I loved the way she delivered her musical number “I put a spell on you” with her evil side kick Mordred played by Richy Lennox-Petre.
Prince Valiant was strikingly played by Jonny Booth who delivered a dashing performance in the iconic super heroic role, a confident performance and the female members of the audience particularly enjoyed his musical number “I’m too Sexy”. The Herald was confidently played by Sam J Scott again this young man is going from strength to strength a very confident performance and showed no concern in leading the chorus in the musical number “I’m a believer”. 

Every pantomime has their traditional panto sing-along in this case it was their interpretation of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” this was very entertaining with raptures of laughter from the audience.  The chorus of villagers played by Sarah Booth, Liz Scott, Neil Chapman, Aimee Honner and Jonathan Ryan did exceptionally well, with good characterisations and delivered their musical numbers with great enthusiasm I loved the finale number “Colour My World”, overall this was a very entertaining show that had the audience hooked from the start excellent entertainment well done to everyone at In Your Face Theatre.