Sleeping Beauty Panto at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.
Don’t get caught snoozing this Christmas, stay awake and go and see the pantomime of your dreams. The Belgrade Theatre are this Christmas bringing you one of the most traditional and popular pantomimes of all time, Sleeping Beauty and it was excellent from start to finish and had everything you would come to expect from this seasonal classic fairy tale.
There were plenty of songs for the audience to sing along to and the multitude of fun and games onstage made for a memorable evening. Sleeping Beauty features spectacular sets and lavish costumes making the annual trip to the Belgrade Theatre a truly unmissable Christmas treat for hundreds of families every Christmas.
Inside the Grand Throne Room of the Palace the Royal family, King Hugo and Queen Hyacinth are preparing for the christening of their baby daughter, Princess Belle. The family get more than they bargained for when the wicked fairy and constant thorn in their side, the evil Carabosse hears of the celebrations and sets out to ruin their happiness.
By pricking her finger on an enchanted spinning wheel on her eighteenth birthday the beautiful Princess is placed under a curse and forced to sleep for 100 years. Can the Princess’ friends, Prince Valiant, Azurial, Muddles and Nanny Fanny McWheeze help save her? Who will outwit the evil Carabosse and foil her wicked plans? They embark on a brave adventure to save the Princess from her terrible fate. But with the wicked Fairy Carabosse determined to ruin their plans, will they be triumphant or is the Princess doomed to a century of snoozing?
With less than thirty sleeps to go until Christmas Day, I was already dreaming of dames, dragons, daring duels, Curling with freshly baked cakes, tremendous dragons, lavish sets and costumes combined with bucket loads of laughs and the odd sprinkling of water!
Once again, written and directed by children’s entertainment legend Iain Lauchlan this Christmas pantomime also sees the return of acclaimed designer Terry Parsons, 50 years after the 1968 panto became the first show he designed, helping to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Belgrade Theatre. Set and Costumes designer Terry Parsons and his production team have created a stunning, colourful set with amazing costumes.
Famed as the creator of the BAFTA-winning TV series The Tweenies, Iain Lauchlan’s impressive stage and screen career spans 40 years but for Belgrade audiences, he’s perhaps best known as the regularly returning Dame. Sleeping Beauty will mark his 24th Belgrade Theatre panto. Iain is back at the Belgrade playing the outrageous Nanny McWheeze. The hugely talented Craig Hollingsworth as Muddles the Jester, also appears in the Belgrade panto for the 7th consecutive year and he was brilliant. His interaction with the audience are legendary.
Highlights for me included starting the panto again after five minutes because Muddles had seen a member of the audience who had missed the start because he was asleep! You, Adrian! The Dragon was brilliant too, there was a huge gasp from the children and adults in the audience when the dragon appeared. It really was quite spectacular! The slapstick comedy song of If I was not in Panto was perfectly rehearsed, keeping the audience waiting an age for the inevitable, Muddles at last being hit by various swinging items by several of the singing cast.
Bringing some of the children onstage was memorable too, Lauchlan and Hollingsworth talking with the young people warmly, generating a few laughs culminating in a full audience chorus of the crocodile song. A big shout out to the assorted members of the Children’s Chorus, the young Briars, Roses and Thorns. They didn’t put a foot wrong or sing a bad note.
Whenever I visit the panto I can not help but smile, everyone is looking to have a good time right from the start and the laughter of the children around me was infectious. Sleeping Beauty was an unforgettable evening of Christmas entertainment. I absolutely loved it and I am now very much ready for the Christmas celebrations.
Lauchlan and the Imagine Theatre Company have once again succeeded in working their Christmas magic with a healthy mix of laughter, colourful sets, jokes, song, dance and music. Pantomime was originally designed as a musical comedy stage production for family entertainment, Sleeping Beauty hits all the right notes.
With tickets already selling faster than a spinning wheel, don’t miss your chance to see Sleeping Beauty at the Belgrade Theatre, where Coventry celebrates Christmas. You and the kids will not be disappointed. I loved it!
Telephone: 024 7655 3055
Credit: All Photographs by Robert Day and Joe Bailey