Any play of any kind that can seamlessly weave in Europe’s The Final Countdown is alright by me.
Although that was my personal highlight, the key improvement on last year’s effort, Jack & The Beanstalk, is that everything feels tighter and moves at a smoother and quicker pace.
Lindsay Sciliagno steals the show as Carabosse the wicked fairy, carrying comic menace aplenty to scare some elements of the audience quite witless – including my own three-year-old daughter who took some persuading not to make a terrified exit in the opening minutes in which Carabosse makes her wicked intentions clear –while amusing in equal measure.
She is ably assisted by last year’s baddie, Philip Stewart, playing a pleasingly odd hippy-wizard hybrid with shades of Danny from Withnail and I and an accomplished cast playing more traditional characters in a distorted riff on the fairy tale with which we are all well versed.
The action is set in “Kerr-naresborough” and the fluent plot is played around with by the in-house writers to include allusions to Doctor Who, Back To The Future, other local geography and legends like Mother Shipton to guard against predictability.
The script is funny, too, with plenty of topical references to keep the grown-ups entertained.
A complete piece of family entertainment, worth travelling to see.
To Jan 12.