Sleeping Beauty cast members are conjuring up a dream of a pantomime

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. The dance ensemble wi

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. The dance ensemble with comedy double-act, Richard Gauntlett, in the driving seat, and Ben Langley, on the running board; EastEnders actress Gillian Wright, 5th right; Elizabeth Carter, centre in red, Sleeping Beauty; and Stephen Godward, front right, Lord Teddy Norbridge. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Pantomime magic is casting its spell as rehearsals get under way for this year's festive show at Norwich Theatre Royal.

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. The dance ensemble wi

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. The dance ensemble with comedy double-act, Richard Gauntlett, in the driving seat, and Ben Langley, on the running board; EastEnders actress Gillian Wright, 5th right; Elizabeth Carter, centre in red, Sleeping Beauty; and Stephen Godward, front right, Lord Teddy Norbridge. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

This year's production is Sleeping Beauty and the cast members have been busy conjuring up a dream of a pantomime in the first week of rehearsals. While the lead actors have been going through their scenes, the ensemble and pantomime babes have been practising dance routines, and soon they will put everything together and start doing runs of the show in preparation for opening night.

Richard Gauntlett, who is once again writing and directing the theatre's pantomime, said the show was putting a unique spin on the classic fairy tale which sees Sleeping Beauty, played by Elizabeth Carter, prick her finger and fall asleep for 100 years.

'This year we have taken most of the action to the 1920s so it's got that nice 1920s feel with the music and the costumes and the Downton Abbey-esque house,' said Mr Gauntlett.

'It was just really opening a history book and going, 'let's go there.' I like to make the show quite different and also we then have a progression of new gags that we can put in that are of the time.'

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Dancers try out a dan

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Dancers try out a dance with mallets. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017


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Mr Gauntlett is famous for playing the dame and he is looking forward to playing the latest colourful character.

'She's Mrs Midges, the housekeeper of Norbridge Abbey. She looks after everyone and she knows what's going on. Her son Muddles is the comic and she brought up Sleeping Beauty as Muddles' twin sister - but not identical - so that's the crux of the story.'

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Gillian Wright, well known for playing Jean Slater in Eastenders, is preparing to play the panto baddie. She said: 'I'm Lady Vipera. She's wicked, nasty, likes a bit of fun, likes to play. She's greedy for youth and beauty and she's got magical powers which is always great fun to play.'

When asked what people could expect from the show, she said: 'Laughter, a little bit of being scared, some romance, some really funny sketches and lots of practical jokes!'

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Richard Gauntlett, ri

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Richard Gauntlett, right, and Ben Langley rehearse. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

For some of the ensemble there is also no place like home, with dancers Rhiannon Hopkins, Joe Press, Jack Ireland and Rachel Davey all hailing from Norfolk and Suffolk.

Sleeping Beauty runs from December 13 to January 14. Visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Elizabeth Carter as P

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Elizabeth Carter as Patience Midges and Sleeping Beauty in a trance, with Gillian Wright as the Dowager Aunt Vipera. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Gillian Wright, who p

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Gillian Wright, who plays the Dowager Aunt Vipera, with one of the costumes. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. The dance ensemble pr

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. The dance ensemble practise their tap dance. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Dancers try out a dan

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Dancers try out a dance with mallets. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Richard Gauntlett, ri

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Richard Gauntlett, right, and Ben Langley rehearse. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Richard Gauntlett, ri

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Richard Gauntlett, right, and Ben Langley rehearse. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Elizabeth Carter as P

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Elizabeth Carter as Patience Midges and Sleeping Beauty in a trance, with Gillian Wright as the Dowager Aunt Vipera. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Local dancers in the

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Local dancers in the dance ensemble, from left, Jack Ireland from Mattishall; Rhiannon Hopkins from Norwich; Rachel Davey from Lowestoft (front); and Joe Press from Wroxham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Local dancers in the

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. Local dancers in the dance ensemble, from left, Jack Ireland from Mattishall; Rachel Davey from Lowestoft (front); Rhiannon Hopkins from Norwich; and Joe Press from Wroxham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. The dance ensemble pr

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. The dance ensemble practise their tap dance. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. The dance ensemble pr

Rehearsals get under way for this year's Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. The dance ensemble practise their tap dance. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

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