Sleeping Beauty ~ Malvern Theatres

Sleeping Beauty runs at Malvern Theatres until 8th January 2016 – to book visit: Malvern Theatres Website

Star Rating: *****

What a pantomime, in all the best senses of the word, Sleeping Beauty in Malvern is most definitely my pantomime of the season. It has been cast perfectly with stars who all grasp the concept of family entertainment and the heart of the tradition and have produced a glorious show which has really put me in the festive spirit.

The set provided an elegant backdrop, the costumes were fabulous and it was clear that this has been a real team effort where everybody should be commended for creating a magical party atmosphere. This pantomime take on the fairy tale varies slightly to the Disney version which most people are aware of, but the basics are all there and the straight forward story was easy to follow for my young toddler, he enjoyed every moment.

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Chris Pizzey stars as Silly Billy and has also directed the show.

Directed by Chris Pizzey, the story of Sleeping Beauty is told through a terrific mixture of popular musical numbers, slick and well placed choreography and the tongue in cheek humour that one associates with this genre of show. Amy Thompson is a beautiful Princess Rose, she has all the gentile, too-good-to-be-true loveliness but she avoids portraying her as sickly sweet and brings some substance to the role. Her vocal ability is stunning and she has wonderful chemistry with her Prince (David Barrett). Barrett plays the role in a humorous super-hero style but doesn’t take the character too seriously, which works. He is well-matched vocally with Thompson and I felt that the audience were on his side. Rebecca Wheatley was a wonderfully giggly and sparkly fairy, she was superb at telling the tale both through narration and song, I was already familiar with Wheatley’s singing voice and she didn’t disappoint. Chris Pizzey also took the role of Silly BIlly “when I say Silly you say Billy!”, as an experienced children’s’ entertainer he was spot on in the comedy role and his cheekiness was infectious. Quinn Patrick was my kind of Dame, as Nanny Glucose he interacted brilliantly with the audience, picking out a ‘boyfriend’ from among the audience. His comic timing was particularly on point and he had a hilarious scene with Pizzey in act two involving a ‘mirror’, what was a highlight. I was also delighted to hear Patrick call upon so many classic pantomime jokes, all of which he executed fantastically. What of the baddie? I hear you ask? Oh yes I do! Gillian Wright (who made her appearance to the tune of the Eastenders theme) is now my all-time favourite pantomime villain. As Carabosse, her evil laugh was a joy to behold, she coaxed the audience participation from the outset and she threw herself into her big number, proving that she is so much more than just Eastenders’ Jean Slater. Wright can sing, dance, express so many emotions with facial expressions which was entertaining in itself and she clearly enjoys what she’s doing. I would travel anywhere to see her on stage again.

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Gillian Wright is my favourite baddie to date! Fabulous as Carabosse.

If you want a traditional, family pantomime with plenty of opportunities to sing along, featuring a classic love tale told by a superb cast, this is the one for you. I can’t recommend it highly enough, a first class production.

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Spotlight On… Star of Malvern Theatres’ Sleeping Beauty, Quinn Patrick

Sleeping Beauty runs at Malvern Theatres from 15 December 2016 to 8 January 2017, for more information and to book your tickets for this fabulous family pantomime, follow this link: http://www.malvern-theatres.co.uk/events/event/sleeping-beauty-2/

Quinn Patrick plays the role of Nurse Nelly and I chatted to the seasoned Pantomime Dame to find out what he’s looking forward to this year:

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, Quinn. So, this year you’re playing Nurse Nelly in Sleeping Beauty, but how many times have you played the Dame to date?

This is the tenth time that I have played the Dame, I’ve played one half of the Ugly Sisters three times and various bumbling old Kings, too. When I first played the Dame I knew that was what I wanted to do.

Do you own many of your own costumes, as many Dames seem to do?

I’ve got a lot of my own costumes, I’ve not done Sleeping Beauty before, so I need to find out what the scenes will be so that I can link the costumes in. I worked for UK Productions for the first time last year and they have lots of lovely costumes.

How do you deal with the customary heckling? Do you have a ‘bring it on’ attitude towards them?

I’m not afraid and I don’t goad, I’m not worried about the heckling because it’s panto and you expect some heckling if they’re enjoying it. Some audience members get a bit lost in the moment.

What is your favourite part of pantomime and the performance?

You put the shoes on and the whole things feels the same as the last time, but different too, if you know what I mean? There’s the rehearsals and meeting the new cast, the technical week where it suddenly comes together. Then you have the first night and you’re really glad you get through it. You work hard on the comedy, but when you get in front of an audience the job really begins. The audience reaction ensures that you keep the good stuff, you mustn’t be afraid to cut stuff. Some material might be great in rehearsals but doesn’t work when you’re in front of an audience.

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The cast of Sleeping Beauty getting ready to entertain at Malvern Theatres.

What’s the best thing about this tradition?

The wonderful thing about panto is it’s the only time where you’ll get different generations of family at the theatre together. All ages sitting in a row from a two year old to an eighty year old.

What can the audience expect from Sleeping Beauty?

Lots of flying which sounds exciting and a really strong cast, too. I worked with Gillian (Wright, who’s playing Carabosse) last year and she’s fantastic. She’s such a nice lady and so funny, that when she plays a horrible character, you don’t expect it.

What would you say to encourage people to come and watch?

Come and have a good time, it promises to be a good show. We’ll all be up there doing our best for you!

Thank you so much to Quinn for chatting to me, I can’t wait to bring my little boy to see you.

 

 

 

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