Review: Sleeping Beauty, Brunton Theatre

Sleeping Beauty. Pic: Comp
Sleeping Beauty. Pic: Comp
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THERE’S something likeable about the Brunton Theatre’s Christmas panto, Sleeping Beauty.

* * *

The production may not have the biggest budget or the blingest props and a projector that’s petulant to say the least, yet the ensemble have a peculiar sort of cheery chemistry and comic timing that makes it work.

Saturday night’s performance may have been beset by technical difficulties, an opening delay was beautifully saved by an ad-libbing audience member and last year’s panto ogre Scott Glynn, who kept the punters amused while the techies tinkered backstage. But even without a back screen projector, the show moved at a steady, if leisurely, pace.

The songs, a mixture of modern hits, recent Disney and older American favourites, slotted well into the story, although not always advancing the narrative.

The relaxed tempo also meant a sense of peril never really built up as Princess Aurora neared her date with the spinning wheel of doom.

The laid back laughs and set pieces making for an entertaining sketch show rather than a drama building momentum.

As love interests Aurora and Prince Finlay of Fisherrow, Kim Shepherd and Stephen Arden were well matched, displaying confidence and experience.

Ryan Paterson’s Chuckles the Jester hit all the right notes with gregarious ease, winning the audience over with a cheeky grin and a cheesy line in wisecracks.

Battling over the fate of Princess Aurora, good Fairy Thistledown, (Kirsty Malone) and bad Fairy Nightshade, (Isabella Jarrett), vie magnificently for laughs. Malone’s perky, friendly Thistledown could easily have been borrowed from Balamory while Jarrett’s taunting Nightshade was more meany than scary fairy.

As King Pinkie and Queen Ruby, Michael Mackenzie and Robert Read provide entertaining, personable banter with some well-timed asides.

Written by Phillip Meeks the script is deft and assured. Just the sort of winter warmer to make you leave your adult self at the cloakroom and revel in the family fun.

• Run ends 4 January 2014