UK Productions at The Anvil RG21 7QR To 2 January 2011.
Runs 2hr 35min One interval.
TICKETS: 01256 844244.
Review Mark Courtice 11 December.
Traditional modern panto.
Basingstoke’s Anvil is home this Christmas, as usual, to a traditional panto story. Sleeping Beauty offers the elements that we are all used to with good and bad fairies (in the hands of a couple of stars), a dame and a pair of young lovers. With the good folk of the village played by local youngsters and a whole load of jokes about X-factor and Strictly Come Dancing, this show faithfully touches all the bases.
Wendy Craig and Abi Titmus provide the Good and Bad Fairy respectively. Craig is sweet and grandmotherly as Fairy Butterfly, and Titmus looks menacing enough as her rival, although she lacks the ability to project beyond the footlights that the best baddies have and looks most uncomfortable when asked to dance during her big number.
Andrew Agnew as Silly Billy does make the connection with the young audience who I guess know him from his day job as PC Plum in Balamory on CBBC, and Nick Wilton provides a bustling Nurse Nelly with more than a bit of a bruiser about her.
The budget seems to have gone on the costumes, so while the sets are unspectacular, the costumes are colourful and neatly detailed, with Twankey’s outfits satisfactorily outrageous and over the top. The flying sequences are much more exciting; the Prince’s flight to the rescue is given drama by Superman-like projections.
Morris Lane’s production dutifully covers all the panto elements of audience call and response, chasing through the auditorium and a (rather well done) mirror sequence. The consequence is that the whole seems a bit plodding, and at more than two and a half hours, overlong.
Good Fairy: Wendy Craig.
Bad Fairy: Abi Titmuss.
Silly Billy: Andrew Agnew.
Sleeping Beauty: Sarah Louise Day.
Prince: Shaun Daulton.
King: Michael Chance.
Nurse Nelly: Nick Wilton.
Juveniles: from Kelly Hopkins Theatre Arts and Basingstoke Academy Of Dance.
Director: Morris Lane.
Lighting: Stephen Holroyd.
Musical Director: Martyn Cooper.
Choreographer: Sarah Day.