Review: Sleeping Beauty At The Floral Pavilion

IT’S becoming a tradition for UK Productions to stage their pantomime at the Floral Pavilion, and it’s a great collaboration. Sleeping Beauty is a fabulous panto: it has glitz, wit, and audience participation, including bringing a 6 year old, dressed as a princess, and a slightly older boy on stage to do some enchanting chat, back and forth, and some very impressive dancing. It’s all about the children: along with some cheeky quips intended for the adults alone. It’s a lavish performance; beautifully staged. This group of actors have worked together at Christmas before, and think of themselves as ‘family’ at this time of year. That rapport between actors makes it that much more fun. Adam Moss, as Silly Billy, steals the show, but there’s not a single weak performance: Vicky Entwistle, as Carabosse is an impressive villain, she has flair, and she still managed to project, over all the booing from the audience, including adults, who were very much involved.  The Musical Director, Steve Allan Jones,  got it just right. There were standards for the adults, and a king, who knew how to rap for the young folk. There were a few twists in this classic fairy story, but the diversions, mainly slap-stick, just made it more fun. The set and costumes are inspired. The Good Fairy, played by Sarah Jane Buckley, is a perfect foil to Carabosse: Sleeping Beauty and her Prince Philip are picture perfect, and Marcus Knibbs’ performance as the King, was impressive, not least because of his ‘fierce’ rap. The Liverpool Theatre School get involved, as villagers, and the audience participation includes some of adults (and children) wearing glittering crowns, getting involved in dance routines, and Silly Billy racing round the theatre with a water pistol. It’s fast paced, it’s beautifully written, with tongue twisters, that the actors claim change every night.  Nanny Glucose, Charles Burden, is the pantomime dame, and he is outrageous, and has more outfit changes than the rest of the cast put together. It’s a simple story of good triumphing over evil, and at the end when the young folk (asked what to do with Carabosse) were chanting: ‘kill Carabosse’, the Good Fairy smiled sweetly, and said: ‘we’re panto: we don’t kill people’. If you can, go and see this: you can borrow someone else’s children. It has the feel good factor in spades. Review by Jean Hill Sleeping Beauty at the Floral Pavilion, New Brighton. 9th December – 3rd January 2016 Box Office: 0151 666 0000 www.floralpavilion.com