I’ve been watching pantomimes in Shrewsbury for the past ten years and I have to say this year’s is the best yet. Sleeping Beauty is written by Paul Hendy and produced by Evolution, the same creative team behind Jack and the Beanstalk which was last year seen by 35,000 people. The production see’s the return of three key people – Brad Fitt, who directs this year’s pantomime as well as starring as the brilliant Nurse Nellie, Eric Smith as the regal King Eric and Adam Moss playing Jangles.
From the moment the lights dim at Theatre Severn the actions begins, I’m not going to spoil it for those visiting but there are several surprises throughout this production the first happens straight away and sets the pace for the rest of the show. Now I did say I won’t spoil anything but… I will say watch out for the dragon, a wheelbarrow of records, bathroom scene, ghosts and a scene involving an ostrich, oh and be prepared to get a little wet. There’s lots of audience participation through the show, the sets are of extremely high standard and the special effects will dazzle.
The cast of Sleeping Beauty has been very well put together; Josh James is Prince Michael, who brings great charm to the role. Ella Vize is our Beauty with great vocals, and Justine Mead is the lovely and warm Fairy Moonbeam. Rachael Barrington plays the Wicked Queen named Maureen and brings a great performance and presence to the stage. She maybe wicked but I really liked Maureen and I thought Rachel gave the character everything it deserved. I hope we see Rachel return to Theatre Severn in the future. As previously mentioned returning to Theatre Severn is Eric Smith, Brad Fitt and Adam Moss. Brad and Adam work exceptionally well together, there’s fun, warmth and a genuine passion to engage and entertain the audience. The pair have a very funny scene which involves a bathroom and some very cold water – it brings lots of laughs and I’m sure for them quite a few bruises. Eric Smith returns to the stage as King Eric, I forget how many years Eric has been starring in local pantomimes but it’s over ten. The pantomime would not be the same without Eric, he’s the butt of some jokes on stage and in one scene dresses as a schoolboy with short trousers, but at the same time he’s the authority the production needs. The main characters together with a dance ensemble and local youngsters chosen at open auditions the stage make this year’s pantomime one to watch.