Review: Sleeping Beauty, Carriageworks, Leeds

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More of a fairytale, it takes a special adaptation to give Sleeping Beauty a cutting edge pantomime style while retaining the magical elements of its plot and sadly that is where this production fails.

Top heavy with vocals, light on comedy and losing its way totally in the second half, when the fairy and prince come out of character and emerge as Same Difference in modern dress, to sing some of their post X-Factor hits.

With an overly long prologue it’s hardly surprising that 
good and evil struggle to establish their characters 
and voices.

However, it doesn’t take Lisa Kelsey long to become a foreboding and wickedly wonderful Carabosse, though at times perhaps she’s a tad too nice; while Sarah Smith’s appealing Lilac Fairy seems to drift between comedy and tradition and never seems to find the right level.

When you have a great pantomime performer like Jez Edwards as Pickles on board it’s a great pity that comedy and gags are thin on the ground and there’s little 
scope to do what he’s best 
at comedy – especially 
when there’s a good foil like Peter Jamieson as the bumbling King Crumble in the team.

Sadly as Nurse Katy, Robert Stephens disappoints, lacking that in-your-face comedy timing, bold brashness and irreverent repartee that one expects from the professional pantomime dame.

However, in the principal girl department Paul Holman, as usual, has pulled out all the stops with Beth Gore as Princess Aurora, who blends beautifully in the vocals with the not-so-believable Sean Smith as Prince Robin.

To Jan 11.

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