Theatre Royal Theatre Square NG1 5ND To 15 January 2012.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.

TICKETS: 0115 989 5555.
Review: Alan Geary: 13 December 2011.

Spectacular – possibly too spectacular.

If it’s spectacle you’re after you should be rushing out to this one. Sleeping Beauty is the most spectacular pantomime in Nottingham this year. In fact, some might find it just too spectacular.

There are some breathtaking stunts, most notably one where Muddles (Joe Pasquale) rides a motorbike up in the air and out over the audience. But the show is over-reliant on 3D effects. Two protracted scenes involving giant creepy-crawlies and other monsters aren’t really the stuff of live panto and have a few of the more sensitive tinies too frightened to appreciate them.

More avoidably, the music is punishingly loud. Right from the start it’s as if you were being tested for audio endurance. It spoils some fine song and dance, for instance, the nicely original proposal routine with Muddles and Prince Daniel (Scott Mobley), and a great piece led by Carabosse in her ghastly HQ.

The scenery is truly lavish as so are the costumes – and not just Queen Passionella’s (Ceri Dupree), who at one point enters wearing a goldfish bowl complete with fish.

As Carabosse, the leggily-fanciable evil fairy, Jenna Lee-James is outstanding. She comes complete with hunchbacked underling Slimeball (Alex Woodhall), to whom she’s “Mumsy”.

From the start, when he steps onto the stage from a Nottingham tram, the star of the show is Joe Pasquale’s Muddles. Not your usual panto comic, the camply slick sort, he is strangely broken-down, with a pathetic squeaky voice.

There are some good jokes. We have that old one from Passionella about her credit-crunch dress: “It’s Armani – Salvation Armani”. And when Muddles accidentally squashes his pet flea he tells us it was his flat-mate. But too much of the humour is gratuitously lavatorial and sexual; and not the sort that goes safely over the heads of small children.

Muddles: Joe Pasquale.
Queen Passionella: Ceri Dupree.
Princess Beauty: Lucy Evans.
Carabosse: Jenna Lee-James.
The Enchantress: Shona White.
Slimeball: Alex Woodhall.
Prince Daniel: Scott Mobley.
King Clarence: James Paterson.
Ensemble: Paul Morgan, Ryan Bowes, Melanie Brown, Matt Cox, Laura-Jane Fenney, Holly Mitchell, Brydan Pillar and David Taverner.
Juveniles: The Theatre Royal Babes.

Director/Choreographer: Jonny Bowles.
Designer: Ian Westbrook.
Lighting: Ben Cracknell.
Sound: Orbital Sound Ltd.
Musical Director: Allan Rogers.

2011-12-14 22:01:45

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