No time to nod off at Sleeping Beauty

MARK NICHOLLS Wakey, wakey, it's panto time...and this year slumber truly is the theme. A dozing damsel in distress, finally brought to life with a prince's kiss, takes centre stage in the Norwich Theatre Royal production of Sleeping Beauty.

MARK NICHOLLS

Wakey, wakey, it's panto time...and this year slumber truly is the theme.

A dozing damsel in distress, finally brought to life with a prince's kiss, takes centre stage in the Norwich Theatre Royal production of Sleeping Beauty.

But along the way there's many a bizarre twist in this newly-written version of the snoozing maiden's tale, which mixes the traditional Sleeping Beauty story with Arthurian legend.

Puns and clichés abound, with jokes old and new (most of them old) in this magical Christmas pantomime, which features a few favourites plus new stars to the Norwich stage.

Sleeping Beauty runs from December 19 until January 22 and has been created by the team behind the theatre's last two festive productions.

Most Read

Sleeping Beauty stars Bad Girls actress Nicole Faraday as the wicked villainess Morgan Le Fay, while master of mirth Rikki Jay returns to Norwich for his seventh year in panto as the amusing mischief-maker Muddles.

Donning the dress this year to take the role of Dame Nanny Nicehands is former Coronation Street star Brian Hibbard, ex-singer with The Flying Pickets. This is the first time Brian has played the dame in Norwich, but he has previous convictions for appearing in panto in the city, as the evil Stinkwort in Jack and the Beanstalk two years ago.

David Gant (The Tempest, King Lear and Braveheart) plays illustrious illusionist Merlin, who is forced to use every trick in the book to outwit Morgan Le Fay.

Vicki Carr, star of Cromer Seaside Specials, takes the lead role with Shane Cortese as the dashing, but navigationally challenged, Prince Percival Lostalot.

A theatre insider said last night: “His task is to wake the dozing damsel in distress, but his orienteering mishaps mean that his chances of finding Sleeping Beauty are something of a Camelot-tery.”

Local actors Chris Newsom, from Saxmundham, and Holly Graham, originally from Norwich, play the regal roles of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere.

And also in the cast are children from the city's Central School of Dance.

Last night was the first time the cast had been on stage with set and costumes, after starting rehearsals in Norwich at The Garage at the end of November.

The panto, traditionally a great moneyspinner for the Theatre Royal, has been devised and directed this year by Richard Gauntlett, who also co-wrote it with Rikki Jay.

For the theatre's box office call 01603 630000 or visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter