Review: Sleeping Beauty, Buxton Opera House

Tradition has it that after the Princess pricks her finger on a spindle and becomes a Sleeping Beauty the good fairy puts everyone to sleep for 100 years so that when the kiss from her Prince awakens her nothing will have changed.

Great idea, but at Buxton they have trumped that with a much more cunning plan. This year’s pantomime at the Opera House has a time travelling fairy and a Back To The Futuresque time machine which allows the 17th century characters a brief flirt with the 80s and a novel way of rescuing the princess from her slumber.

Philip Dart’s clever adaptation of the classic fairy tale is bursting at the seams with the gags and glamour we expect from a pantomime and is the perfect family show.

The children loved the tomfoolery and we adults could titter at the cheesy one-liners and that’s just as it should be.

Serving up the hilarious comedy capers were James Holmes returning to Buxton as Dame Nanny Nora, Matthew Jay Ryan as Billy and the eccentric inventor King Bertra, of Buxtonia played by Alasdair Baker.

Johnathan Tweedie, who played the evil Maleficient, worked the audience so well that the roar of boos from the excited youngsters every time he stepped on stage could probably be heard in Bakewell.

So engrossed were the children that they were literally on the edge of their seats pleading with Princess Aurora, played by Jessica Revell, not to be tricked into the evil fairy’s trap.

They failed of course and it was up to the good fairy Emmeline, played by a Buxton favourite Zoe Littleton, to save the day with the help of Prince Christopher, played by Joseph Anthony.

Pantomime is all about the children and if the beaming faces of those at the show I enjoyed were anything to go by Buxton’s Sleeping Beauty is the one to choose.

Other members of the cast were Haydn Cox as King Frederick and Poppy Andrews at Queen Bertha. The juvenile chorus is split into two teams and they are Yasmin Brien, Neave Burns, Martha Burwood, Eva Mae Ellis, Milly Fitzgerald, Millie Hattersley-Mather, Jessica Jones, Olivia Jowle, Sasha Myronko, Charlotte Thomas, Freya Blackwell-Lynch, Ella L Miah Bond, Faye Bramley, Gracie Cotterill, Charlotte Fleur Cross, Niamh Goulding Ansbro, Isabel Palmer, Dulce Pearson, Amber Pickering and Elizabeth Watson.

The director was Philip Dart, musical director Adam Gerber, choreographer Lily Howkins, lighting Guy Dunk, sound Terry Saunders and Mike Palmer, costumes and wardrobe Jo Deaville and Gwen Bagshaw, stage manager Vernon Marshal, deputy stage manager Emma Ryan. The musicians were Marcus Adams and Greg Pringle.

The pantomime can be seen until December 31. For tickets go to http://www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk

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