Sleeping Beauty – Little Theatre Dover Street Until 8th January
Review by Lynette Watson
A traditional pantomime package that bursts with the spirit of Christmas has arrived at Dover Street’s Little Theatre as Leicester’s premier Drama Company present their latest and always popular pantomime ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ This fairy story bewitches young and old alike and director, the talented John Bale (demonstrating a multitude of strings to his bow) ensures that this is a show where the story comes first but packed with all the ingredients of truly spectacular pantomime including good and bad fairies, a dame and fools, outrageous costumes while not forgetting the essential slapstick and mayhem, never failing to hold the attention of the audience even that of the very young who lifted the roof off cheering, clapping, booing and hissing from the magical opening to the sparkling finale.
Before the panto begins the scene is set as the children are lured into the theatre’s studio aptly re-named The Dragon’s Den for an activity session including a colouring competition and an arts and crafts project cleverly building up their excitement for the show ahead.
The eight strong cast pull out all the stops to guarantee the action packed pace never drops with plenty of audience participation, two warnings however, 1. Be wary if you are sitting on the front row and 2. Be prepared to get wet! Rose Bale as the Fairy Briar Rose gave a delightful performance superbly contrasted by Siobhan Ball who oozed evil as the bad fairy Carabosse and whose vocals were pitch perfect. Instant rapport was made with the children by Bellow and Shout, James May and Isaac Hart, the royal heralds with their knockabout comedy and we were treated to a fairly feisty Sleeping Beauty, Megan Slater matched by Simon Butler as the cocky dragon slaying Prince but the show for the most part belongs to John Bale as Petunia Petal Iris, PPI for short, who has expertly devised and directed the show also designing the outrageous costumes, he has played dame many times and his experience shines through.
Sleeping Beauty offers a fun filled two hours of magical festive family entertainment with the children en masse yelling for more at the visually glittering finale!