Theatr Clwyd has excellent form for pantomimes. So good were my daughters’ memories of last year’s production, Aladdin, that on the night we were due to review Sleeping Beauty levels of excitement were high in our house. The girls rushed upstairs straight from school to change into their best dresses and select handbags and hair accessories for their big night out. We certainly weren’t disappointed.
Peter Rowe’s script was classic panto with plenty of jokes working on multiple levels for different ages, some slapstick, and local references, but also offering clever twists on the fairy tale standard. For example the 100 years for which Sleeping Beauty slept separated the Victorian era and the swinging sixties. This gave a fabulous excuse for some groovy costumes.
Morgana, Lynwen Haf Roberts
Nurse Tabetha Trott, Sean McKenzie
Special mention has to go to Sean McKenzie who returns as the dame, Nurse Tabetha Trott (Tabby), keeping the one liners and double entendre coming with a warm and genial delivery. Compliments to the designers and wardrobe team for some fabulous gowns for Tabby – as the evening progresses going from one to 10 on a scale of extreme flamboyant fun.
I loved Lynwen Haf Roberts as bad fairy Morgana, familiar to audiences of Welsh language theatre productions but making her Rock’n’Roll panto debut. Her outfit was amazing and she was a very classy baddy.
Emmy Stonelake gave a very charming performance as Frederica the apprentice fairy. She had the whole audience rooting for her and garnered the loudest and lengthiest applause for her powerhouse vocals. The Welsh language lines were also appreciated by those of us who speak the language of heaven.
Elian West and James Ifan were immensely likeable as loved-up couple Princess Susie and Simon Steadfast and David Heywood was very entertaining as Mordred. Zoe West gave an engaging performance as Fairy Fanciful and also possessed an enviable singing voice. Also making his return to the Rock’n’Roll panto was Rowan Talbot as King Camelot whose purposefully quirky accent, delivery and physical comedy had us in stitches.
The design was stunning with a set including a beautiful palace in hues of lilac, pink and silver, a fairy tale cottage in the woods of Mold, and both the mists of time and overgrowth around the palace represented when required by beautiful transparent drapes. Clever use of different height levels and trapdoors added an extra dimension to the drama.
I love the way the set design allows you to see the actor-musicians playing instruments and singing at the side of the stage while the main scene goes on at the centre. I never fail to marvel when watching the Rock’n’Roll panto at the array of talents the cast possess, being able to act, sing and play two or three instruments including saxophone, drums, bass guitar and keyboards.
Vocals were of a high standard throughout but particularly so by the women. The encore performance of Lady Marmalade by Frederica, Morgana, Fairy Fanciful and Princess Susie was absolutely fantastic and had us all on our feet dancing and clapping.
Some songs were a bit cheesy for sure, including Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen and Isn’t She Lovely, but all was forgiven with the inclusion of Don’t Leave Me This Way by The Communards, and my guilty pleasure, Wham! Full marks to musical director Tayo Akinbode.
The choreography was fun and the lighting was very effective.
My eldest’s favourite part was getting soaked with water by Tabby and King Camelot and my youngest the wonderful dancing and singing that concluded the performance.
To sum up – the lengths that cast and crew go to in order to ensure the audience have a joyous experience are incredible and for me have certainly paid off. A highly recommended afternoon or evening out.
Sleeping Beauty – The Rock ‘N’ Roll Panto is at Theatr Clwyd, Mold, from Friday 24 November 2017 – Saturday 20 January 2018. Tickets: £25 – £20 available at www.theatrclwyd.com or by calling the box office on 01352 701521.