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REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty, Connaught Theatre, Worthing

Sleeping Beauty stars, left to right, Bobby Crush as Nurse Katy Cough Drop, Nikki Kelly as Carabosse, Helen Peters as Lilac Fairy, and Jon Moses as Prince Valiant

Sleeping Beauty stars, left to right, Bobby Crush as Nurse Katy Cough Drop, Nikki Kelly as Carabosse, Helen Peters as Lilac Fairy, and Jon Moses as Prince Valiant

  • by Elaine Hammond
 

Worthing’s Connaught Theatre pantomime this year is a real beauty.

Clearly, no-one was sleeping on the job when this spectacle of colour, music and dance was put together by Paul Holman Associates.

Sleeping Beauty opened at the Union Place theatre on Friday and I attended the glittering VIP night yesterday (Tuesday).

The wonderment begins before you even sit down, thanks to a glorious castle drawbridge-style gateway complete with flickering giant “flames”.

And the minute the show begins, the audience participation is underway, just what you want and expect from a pantomime.

Hi-de-Hi’s Nikki Kelly makes a marvellous wicked fairy, paired perfectly with Helen Peters as a rather robust “good” fairy, who was hilariously bossy at times.

As usual, it’s the comedy characters who are the favourites and the Connaught is lucky to have two excellent performers this year.

Comedian and impressionist Tony Rudd as Muddles kept everyone bouncy and fitted in numerous impressions along the way.

Meanwhile Bobby Crush proved a stalwart entertainer as Nurse Katy Cough-Drop, sporting the usual elaborate costumes expected of the Dame.

And the theatre didn’t waste the opportunity to make the most of having a top pianist on stage, including a fantastic piano medley coupled with a skirt-swishing dance routine.

All the principals had great voices, and I loved Jon Moses as Prince Rupert, performing in true Disney hero style.

Everything you want from a panto is here, with a brilliant comedy decorating routine from Muddles and King Crispin (Peter Jamieson), the “he’s behind you” ghost scene and, of course, the little ‘uns from the audience up on stage for a sing-song.

It’s a night not to be missed for young and old and the prefect performance for Christmas.

Sleeping Beauty runs at the Connaught Theatre until January 5. Visit www.worthingtheatres.co.uk

 

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