SLEEPING BEAUTY: Paul Hendy
4 Stars: ****
Lichfield Garrick, to 31st December 2016.
Runs: 2hours 40, including an interval.
BO: 01543 412121
Review: Nigel Bellingham, 20/12/2016
Fantastic festive family fun
Lichfield Garrick has got a new Dame this year in the person of Sam Rabone, a local lad who hails from Sutton Coldfield, and his Nurse Nellie headlines a strong cast in this fun, friendly family pantomime. Although it doesn’t have the budget of larger venues the Garrick more than makes up for this with a show that serves up a number of highly amusing comic sketches and that entertains adults and children alike.
It is worth seeing the show just to witness what happens when Nurse Nellie and Jangles (Ben Thornton) pay a visit to the palace’s bathroom- I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s fair to say that I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much water onstage. There are also plenty of well-known popular songs, and the finale number is particularly good with everyone invited to stand up and have a dance in the auditorium. The Garrick also generously allows parents and children to take out their phones and cameras at this point meaning that you can wince or smile the next day when you watch a video of yourself enthusiastically singing along to ‘I’m a Believer’.
Although I sometimes felt that the show could have been pacier in the first half it is clear that the traditional Garrick pantomime is in good health, and Tim Ford and his team should be applauded for creating a festive treat that sends you home smiling and ready for Christmas. I was also particularly impressed with the fact that cast members came out into the foyer after the show had finished to collect money for local charities, and to take photos with beaming children. Ultimately this is a show with a big heart, a lot of laughs and a hardworking cast that are clearly having a ball, and with Sam Rabone already booked to return as Widow Twankey next year it looks like audiences can already look forward to another Christmas treat.
Fairy Moonbeam: Rebecca Keatley
Nurse Nellie: Sam Rabone
Jangles: Ben Thornton
King: Ian Billings
Prince: Lloyd Davies
Sleeping Beauty: Jo-anne Stevens
Carabosse: Siani Owen
Ensemble and Dance Captain: Kirsty Fuller
Ensemble: Georgia Reid Hamilton, Anto Buckley and Joseph O’Reilly
Director: Tim Ford
Choreographer: Ashley Nottingham
Musical Director: Dave Culling
Writer: Paul Hendy
Set designers: Helga Wood and Terry Parsons
Costume designer: Helga Wood
Lighting Designer: Mark Dymock