The Sleeping Beauty
15th December 2017
The Playhouse, Sleaford
Type of Production
Author: Peter Breach
Sleaford in Lincolnshire may be a small town with a theatre that was built in 1825, but my goodness they continue to stage some great productions, such as their 2017 pantomime “The Sleeping Beauty”. This particular version was written by Ben Crocker, though the story has been retold numerous times and is very well known.
After the enthusiastic Chorus performed their welcoming song and dance routine, Billie (Laura Griffin), the lively royal servant, confidently explained that the long awaited royal baby was to be christened and four good fairies have been invited to be godmothers to the infant princess. Three of the fairies who were present, offered their gifts of beauty, wisdom and grace to the baby but at this point the evil fairy Carabosse (Collette Buchanan-Gray) made her entrance with her wicked cat Spindleshanks (Joanne Moules) – a real dastardly duo, thanks to clever make- up, innovative costumes and skilled acting. My, you could tell straight away that this pair was not happy; they looked evil, spoke evil and intended to do evil things, all because they had not received an invitation to the christening. The spiteful fairy enchanted the infant princess so that when she was 18 years old she would prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel and die. Though an attempt was made to reverse the evil fairy’s curse it could only be partially changed so that instead of dying, the Princess Aurora (Lily Inkpin) would fall into a deep sleep for 100 years and would be awakened by a king’s son, Prince Orlando (Molly Inkpin).
Now obviously the audience couldn’t be allowed to sleep for a hundred years or more so in the meantime other things were happening in this pantomime. Queen Dorothy (Craig Pakes) is a very good cook - oh yes she is! So she goes to the palace kitchen to make a cake but finds she has company; rats had taken over the kitchen and were in the the flour and other ingredients. Poor Dolly got into a right mess and even if it wasn’t up to the standard of “Bake Off” it was great slapstick comedy!
When some people go to sleep they have dreams and in those dreams they imagine they see people and things – so some of the characters in this panto thought they were being chased by Zombies and Ghosts when they were asleep, but when they woke up they had gone. The skeleton costumes brought on loud shouts of “He’s behind you”.
Something else that was really scary was when Prince Orlando was making his way through the Forest of Thorns, he came across a huge dragon that breathed out fire and when this creature stretched out its huge wings it looked as if it was going to take flight and attack the audience; thank goodness, the brave Prince Orlando and cat Kitty (Helen Hill) attacked the dragon with their swords and killed it.
Thank you to the cast and crew for combining your theatrical skills to provide this super entertainment. The sustained applause from the audience at the conclusion of the performance was well deserved.