• Elliot Ball

REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty captures the magic of Christmas

Kenneth Allan Taylor’s production of Sleeping Beauty is a wonderful family night out that is sure to get both adults and children howling with laughter.

Nottingham Playhouse has really captured the magic of a Christmas pantomime with this year’s instalment of Sleeping Beauty. The atmosphere before the show was buzzing with Christmas decorations and music, making even the biggest Scrooge feel festive.

I don’t think anyone can help but get that child-like excitement when they first see the stage before a pantomime and at Nottingham Playhouse it was no different. The stage looks beautiful, a special mention to the production's art and prop department must be given.

The panto opens to a rendition of ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’ performed by Tim Frater who played Jerry the Jester. Frater was exceptional, showing off his array of dance moves which I imagine come from an impressive background on Strictly Come Dancing and appearances at the Royal Variety Show.

Before long the King and Queen, played by Darren Southworth and Rebecca Little, arrived on stage with a whole host of gags that really set the mood for the rest of the show.

The funniest of all the characters was John Elkington as Nurse Tilly Tott. Elkington was hilarious with punch line after punch line, as well as poking a bit of fun at the Nottingham dialect which I think we can all appreciate. Elkington’s character really stole the show and was one of the best comedic characters I’ve seen in a pantomime.

Elkington had a remarkable quick wit which led to some of the most memorable and unplanned parts in the show. The one moment that springs to mind was when the whole audience was instructed to get onto their feet after they demanded the cast perform ‘Rocking All Over the World’ for the sixth time – which as you could tell from the cast who couldn’t quite stop laughing was really not in the rehearsals.

Although the laughter was full-flowing the storytelling was still phenomenal and Toyin Ayedun-Alase who played Maleficent was a fabulous villain. She really commanded the stage and had a brilliant stage presence as she lapped up the boos from the audience.

This particular production had possibly the most musical numbers I’ve ever seen in a pantomime, but it really worked and was an entertainment-filled evening. My partner and I had an evening to remember, cheering, booing and singing along to every song and we’re shamefully 21 and 20 years of age…

Louise Dalton played the handsome Prince Alexander, her singing voice was extraordinary and she added just enough comedic wit for a dashing hero.

Dalton and Maddie Harper, who played Princess Rosalind, had tremendous chemistry on stage and their performance of ‘Marry You’ was really special. Both actresses brought their own personality to the role and it was a joy to watch.

Spoiler alert…the performance was capped off with a beautiful wedding scene and a feel-good sing-along with the audience.

If you haven’t booked your tickets for this year’s pantomime at the Nottingham Playhouse then what are you waiting for?! Tickets are available here: https://www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/whats-on/family/sleeping-beauty-2019/