REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty (Oldham Coliseum)

Sleeping Beauty at Oldham Coliseum © Joel C Fildes
Sleeping Beauty at Oldham Coliseum
© Joel C Fildes
upstaged rating:  

The team at Oldham Coliseum always succeed in delighting their dedicated Northern audience during pantomime season and this year they’re back, and true to form, with Sleeping Beauty.

With Kevin Shaw at the helm, Oldham Coliseum triumph once again – following their tried and tested recipe of pantomime goodness. With no glitter spared, every performer has that magical twinkle in their eye and, commanding the stage, they deliver the perfect Christmas show. Perhaps what makes Sleeping Beauty so delightful is that every child (and adult) feel involved – the auditorium is just the right size for the audience to be able to interact, which is a real bonus for the younger theatre-goers.

With an unexpected reshuffling of the cast following Fine Time Fontayne’s injury in rehearsal, Simeon Truby jumps into dame Nanny Nutty’s large and vibrant Doc Marten’s and delivers a superb performance. Celia Perkins’ costume design is a real treat – bright, larger than life and guaranteed to put a smile on even the most hardened of faces. Accompanied by Dave Bintley’s toe-tappingly brilliant musical soundtrack, Fine Time and Shaw’s script is tight and littered with references to popular culture. With a range of gags for the adults and the usual panto slapstick for children, Sleeping Beauty is a real winner with the diverse crowd.

Radiant Demi Goodman steps daintily into the role of Briar Rose, oblivious to the curse that has been thrust upon her by the bitter Carabosse, played by Liz Carney. Comedy capers are plentiful from Oldham Coliseum regulars Richard J Fletcher and Justine Elizabeth Bailey as The Nutty’s with Demi Goodman doubling up to play Nicky Nutty. Sara Sadeghi is full of energy playing both the good fairy, Spinning Jenny and the ‘super shiny’ Queen Hermione; David Westbrook completes the super line-up as King Cuthbert – there is no weak link here. The chorus dancers are full of energy, unbelievably light on their feet and springier than bouncy balls.

Simply put – Oldham Coliseum’s Sleeping Beauty is everything that a pantomime should be. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments, a lively musical score and the opportunity to interact with the performance – and all in an ideal sized performance space, where everyone can feel part of the action. Packed to the brim with magic, mischief and good old fashioned fun, Sleeping Beauty is certain to get all of the family ready for Christmas.

-Kristy Stott

With performances running until 7th January 2017, Sleeping Beauty is the perfect treat for families this Christmas. To book your tickets click here.

REVIEW – Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty (The Lowry)

SLEEPING BEAUTY
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty © Johan Persson
Date: 24 November 2015
Upstaged Rating: 

Matthew Bourne and New Adventures are back at The Lowry in Salford with a gothic reimagining of the classic fairytale Sleeping Beauty.

By Bourne’s own admittance the familiar story of Sleeping Beauty always left him ‘a little cold’ – understandably so – it is a tale about a Princess who spends most of her time asleep. Taking his inspiration from Tchaikovsky’s score and the original fairytale, Bourne plays with our expectations of the well-loved tale and adds further layers to the story, with a surprising twist and new characters – Sleeping Beauty is a faultless and magical production. Giving us all the visual clues that we need to experience the story in a new and refreshing way – there is no finer storyteller than Matthew Bourne.

Set to the backdrop of Tchaikovsky’s passionate and menacing score, Sleeping Beauty tells the love story of Princess Aurora and her one true love, the Royal Gamekeeper, Leo. However, their love story is cut short when the dark fairy, Carrabosse curses Aurora to sleep for a 100 years. Carrabosse’s son, Caradoc also has designs to wed the Princess – however, she can only be awoken by her true love’s kiss.

Sumptuous gold curtains frame the stage and footlights donning fairy wings cast their light up to the stunning movement. Lez Brotherston’s set and costume design is dreamlike and striking, transporting us through from the Victorian era to the Edwardian period and then the present day with ease.

There is an abundance of personality and humour from the outset as Bourne chooses not to depict Aurora as a babe in arms but a loveable and mischievous little beauty. Using clever puppetry, Aurora is given a strong identity from the very beginning bringing giggles from the audience.

As always with Matthew Bourne and New Adventures, the most striking feature is the individuality of the dancers and their outstanding talent as dynamic storytellers. Ashley Shaw shines as Princess Aurora, playful and dreamlike, with Chris Trenfield as her true love Leo – their pas de deux at the end of Act II is perfectly expressive of young love. Adam Maskell shows his versatility as a dancer playing both malevolent Carabosse and her sinister son, Caradoc. Led by Christopher Marney‘s Count Lilac, the winged fairies Mari Kamata, Cordelia Braithwaite, Leon Moran, Dena Lague and Liam Mower, complete a wonderful line-up – technically perfect – they perform with passion, wit and vivacity. 

Once you have seen a Matthew Bourne production you become hooked and poised ready for the next. Following the well-deserved standing ovation and rapturous applause for Sleeping Beauty, Bourne hinted that he has a brand new production waiting in the wings. With a formal announcement to be made after Christmas – he did reveal that it will receive its premiere in Salford at The Lowry. I can’t wait.

-Kristy Stott

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty is at The Lowry until Saturday 28th November.