The Sleeping Beauty

Date 16th January 2015
Society Washington Theatre Group
Venue Washington Arts Centre
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Matthew Lowe
Musical Director Emma Simpson
Choreographer Sarah Tetchner and Calum Price


Author: Gordon Richardson

It is always a pleasure to visit such a friendly society that engages with its audience and makes them feel part of the Washington TG ‘family’. We were told the tale of why the curse was cast on ‘Sleeping Beauty’ by a ‘flashback’ to the date of her birth as the evil Carabosse (Sarah Clarke) wound up the audience with her wicked behaviour helped along by two troll-like ‘twins’ John and Edward (Jedward), played in superbly extrovert fashion by Sarah Tetchner and Calum Price respectively.

Back to ‘real time’ and the 16th birthday of Princess Aurora (Emma Simpson) saw her parents Old King Cole (Peter Wilson) and Young Queen ‘Cheryl’ Cole (Angela Marshall) throwing their daughter a party whilst still concerned that all spinning wheels had been banished from the kingdom to minimise the effects of the curse bestowed by Carabosse upon their daughter Aurora.
Obviously the evil entity won the day (however temporary) until the situation was saved by ‘Fairy Pam’ (Marie Lovell) – a somewhat quirky and ineffectual fairy godmother to Aurora who downgraded the effects of the curse to the princess sleeping for 100 years or until the kiss of her true love. Along came Prince Florizel (Rachel Neil) to save the day with a kiss. ‘He’ was ably supported by ‘Pat the Dog’ – a somewhat well-spoken and articulate pooch played in fine fashion by Matt Littledyke.

A good pantomime relies heavily on audience interaction, and engaging them superbly was John Seymour as Muddles (the court jester) alongside Peter Fitzpatrick, as Nanny Ophelia, and Marie as Fairy Pam. All three had the young (and not so young) audience eating out of their hands – quite literally when handing out the ‘treasure trove’ they’d found in the form of a chest full of sweeties...
A small number of chorus members as well as a young troupe of six dancing fairies further enhanced the production.

As always at Washington TG, the minimalistic set was ‘just right’ for the setting and action. Singing was of a high standard and sound was clear and crisp. Costume and makeup was well thought out with attention to detail throughout.

In what seems to be becoming a trademark of their pantos, the audience was treated to a video insert of a ‘date’ between Muddles and Fairy Pam whose on-screen antics were enjoyed by all.
Well Done Washington TG for a well crafted panto – and a nice touch in lining up to say farewell to each of the audience as they left.