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Review: Sleeping Beauty – The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto- Theatr Clwyd

We’ve reached that time of year again! Yes, panto season has officially kicked off at Theatr Clwyd with Sleeping Beauty by Peter Rowe. Get your best Christmas jumper, a pair of your finest fairy wings and the glitteriest of glitter you can get your hands on. 

By Kara Beth Davies, Egwyl Editor | @Kara_Davies

★★★★★

It’s not Christmas without a pantomime, is it? Oh no, it isn’t!

Renowned for it’s dazzling pantomimes year after year, Theatr Clwyd produces yet another showstopper. Equipped with fairies, villains and, everybody’s favourite, the panto dame!

It was a packed out Anthony Hopkins Theatre as I took my seat. No soon after sitting down, the cast emerge to greet the audience and a Mexican wave is started. A sea of smiling faces fills the room. At this point, I lost my pen as a result of this Mexican wave, so the lady sat next to me kindly let me use hers!

The set design this year is fantastic and Adrian Gee, the designer, has stuck to the Welsh roots of the theatre and includes the iconic Welsh Dragon in this grand layout. Something as small as this makes all the difference. Everything adds together, making it all the more enchanting.

Fairy Fanciful (Zoe West) tells the story of young Princess Susie (Elian West), cursed at birth by evil Morgana (Lynwen Haf Roberts). Appearing at unexpected moments through trapped doors, in a cloud of smoke and speaks in rhyme, she’s a very happy and smiley character unlike her counterpart, Morgana.

Morgana, green with envy, on the hunt for power for herself and Mordred (David Heywood). Using deceitful tactics to get what she wants, Morgana isn’t one for playing by the rules. She’s a vintage villain we all love to hate.

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Photo by Brian Roberts

The love story that blossoms between Princess Susie and Simon Steadfast (James Ifan) is charming to watch. They have such great chemistry between themselves. But their relationship poses the ‘will they/ won’t they question?’ It’s that stereotypical plot where we all know what will happen in the end, but there’s many twists and turns stitched into the narrative to keep us all guessing.

It’s not a true panto without a true panto dame, yes, Sean McKenzie is back for a second time. This year he’s playing the role of Nurse Tabetha Trott. His performance, costumes and rather suggestive one liners steals the show. I couldn’t tell you which costume is my favourite, but the daffodil outfit will always be a strong contender amongst the dame’s outrageous wardrobe.

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Photo by Brian Roberts

Now that we’re on the subject, there are so many costumes! Whether it’s Susie’s swinging sixties dress or Nurse Tabetha Trott’s cake costume, it seems to have shifted up a gear. They are bigger, brighter and better than what I’ve ever seen in a Theatr Clwyd panto before.

A vigirous character that caught my attention from the off is Frederica (Emmy Stonelake), the apprentice fairy. All she wants is a pair of her own fairy wings. She’s clumsy, but sassy and has an infectious personality! She doesn’t necessarily believe in herself, but the audience do, which is why she is so popular. Frederica has a brilliant journey from apprentice to a real fairy, it’s lovely to see this development. In her Theatr Clwyd debut, Stonelake makes this character her own and her beautiful, strong Welsh accent just completes the character perfectly. Watch out for he rendition of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, it is absolutely outstanding.

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Photo by Brian Roberts

The music is enough to get you dancing out of your seat. Not just exceptional actors and actresses, they are all superb singers and musicians, in particular, Greg Coulson has some serious musical ability on multiple instruments.  I particularly love the tribute to Welsh culture with a spot of rugby to the Welsh national anthem, sang gorgeously by Roberts and Elian West.

It’s such an energetic, funny and magical display of talent by the strong cast of 10 actor/ musicians. The director Zoe Waterman and her creative team have also done such a brilliant job in transforming this well known tale into a Theatr Clwyd classic.

Sleeping Beauty is running until January 20, 2018. Tickets and more information can be found here.

Our team challenged some of the Sleeping Beauty cast to a round of Quickfire Questions, see how they got on below!

 

 

 

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