Is panto season finished... Oh no it isn't! Sleeping Beauty performed by young members of North West Theatre Arts Company (NWTAC) is based on Charles Perrault's book which tell the story of a king and queen who long for a child, and finally are rewarded. When a child (Princess Aurora in this Pantomime) is cursed to die by an evil Countess Carabosse, she is subsequently raised in the woods by the good fairies. By working the plot, the princess sleeps, and the good Lilac Fairy casts a spell to make everyone else fall asleep for one hundred years. The prince is kept away from the palace so he does not get affected by her spell and he is able to enter the castle and wake the princess with a kiss.
The role of Princess Aurora was played beautifully by Lois Ormerod with grace and confidence. Prince Florimund was played incredibly well by Eva Carty who was very passionate and dedicated to the character. Ormerod and Carty worked really well with each other on stage and I must mention their vocals. I was absolutely blown away by their stunning voices especially in the nice arrangement of "Shallows" which I have to admit bought a little tear to my eye. Massive well done to Ormerod and Carty for this fantastic performance.
The Dame (Joanna Sniff in this Pantomime) was played hilariously by Jonny Molyneux. Molyneux was incredible at engaging with the audience and made sure that they will be in stitches whenever he comes on. His sidekick; Silly Billy was played by Elton Amoateng who also did a good job at engaging with the audience and his comedic timing was spot on. We were also introduced to two idiots; Trumpy and Pumpy played marvellous by Holly Norbury and James Valentine. Once again, the comedic timing was used very well by the pair and their scenes were full of slapstick and jokes. These characters worked perfectly well together, and the audience loved them.
The evil Carabosse was played by Jade Hamer. Hamer's evil laugh and actions suited the character well and the audience were really frightened of her and booed her every time she came on which showed that Hamer did a brilliant job as she achieved the purpose of her character. Her son; Grumpus was played by Liam Watson. Although Grumpus was a little idiot, Watson made sure that his character was scary at the same time and I really enjoyed his performance.
The Lilac Fairy was played by Grace Donohue. Donohue was magnificent and literally magical. I have to mention how stunning her Make-up and costume looked. The Lilac Fairy was joined by 5 little fairies played exceptionally well by Poppy Evans, Paulina Sztendel, Lilly Taylor, Eric Carty and Leah Chaloner. I loved the little thing going on between Allegra and Vladimir which was hysterically presented by Annabelle Cook and Hannah Hopwood. Rest of the cast did such a great job to the point where I kept forgetting that I was watching young people and not professional Broadway actors/actresses perform but I'm sure they'll make it very soon.
Songs in this pantomime were superbly chosen and weren't used in other pantomimes this year. It was the first panto I've seen this season that didn't have any songs from The Greatest Showman and I was over the moon to see that as it made this pantomime unique (and also because I wasn't forced to hear songs from that film again). Direction by Prab Singh was faultless as well as the musical direction by Beth Singh and choreography by Katie Gough which were impeccable. The set designed by Mark Beaumont was big, bright and magical as you would expect of a pantomime and worked really well with charming costumes by Claire Howarth, Trish Pemberton and Angie Mills.
This Show Gets:
Overall, This Pantomime is spectacular and is a must see... oh yes it is !!!
Small print: I am a member of NWTAC however I did not participate in this production and I was going to this show as a reviewer which means that I am being 100% honest when writing this and my relationship with the company does not influence this review.