SHEFFIELD LYCEUM - SLEEPING BEAUTY - 04/12/2021

 

Sleeping Beauty – Sheffield Lyceum from 3rd Dec – 3rd Jan

Evolution Pantomimes

2hr 30mins

 

Lovely to be able to go back into a theatre after 2 years of hell due to a pandemic. Lavish scenery, beautiful costumes, fabulous music, wonderful actors… then there’s the script! (more on that later).

 

James the musician and dancers get us in the festive spirit with the legendary opening Lyceum theatre anthem… ‘Bring Me Sunshine’, before Fairy Moonbeam (Janine Duvitski) starts working her magic by telling us this classic fairy-tale.  Janine is a pure genius, her many stage, tv and film credits definitely show why she is the perfect Fairy! (she’s even fluent in Welsh!)

 

Sheffield’s own Nurse Nellie (aka Damian Williams) has the punters howling at his many frocks and charms.(not to mention his up and coming tv debut (no… I won’t spoil it) poor James, (audience member) got told off, off Nellie for pressing a button given to him… again, that will be mentioned later on.

 

Jangles (Ben Thornton) Owned the stage and delighted even me a 42 year old man with his energy. He knows how to keep the nippers and old men like me entertained. An all-rounder, that other companies should snap up…

 

Dominic Sibanda (Prince) and Hannah Everest (Beauty) were in my opinion badly scripted… Vocally talented let down by 2 important pantomime scenes. Dominic’s rendition of ‘Everybody Hurts’ after discovering his true love had ‘pricked’ her finger was suddenly ruined by a confetti cannon and a blast of ‘Celebration’. James was ‘deemed’ as ‘sick’ for pressing his button. (I’m not sure why an important scene was ruined by an unnecessary explosion and different song?) And to top it all off… the finale was horrific. (Let’s just say… since when has the ‘Bride and Groom’ been first to take a final bow?)

 

Last but not least… Carabosse (Lucas Rush) I had mixed feelings about this casting choice before the show. Sadly, Carabosse is a female part and Damian’s 15th century line made this casting choice even worse. Lucas is very talented and he didn't deserve to be cast a bad role. (Possibly without the 15th century line the male Carabosse version would've worked.)

 

Overall, good scenery, costumes, music, but a very poor script in places.

 

2/5 Stars.

Tim Foers

ROTHERHAM CIVIC THEATRE - ALADDIN - 18/12/21

 

Aladdin – Rotherham Civic Theatre

From 2nd Dec – 9th Jan

Imagine Theatre

2hr 15mins

 

After the dreadful 18mths that theatres up and down the country have faced, it was nice to see a pantomime that puts modernness into a traditional tale that works. Aladdin ticks all the right boxes for me, a man who is a panto fanatic desires tradition at the ‘helm’ of the plot and daft ‘modernised’ touches to fill it out. With a cast that includes Anto Buckley as the Genie, that is more camper than an I’m a Celebrity dwelling site and popular and returning star Laura Judge as the Spirit of the Ring and Mayoress… you have a panto that is GENIE-US!

 

Once again, this production was brought to us South Yorkshire folks by Imagine Theatres, with the help of writer Iain Lauchlan.

 

The story is well-known, but this script was totally modernised in two places I am pleased about. No more ‘new lamps for old’ bits and definitely… no ‘Ice-Cream on the face’ bit. Sorry, if that spoils the fun of Aladdin for most script-writers, but for me, it’s a breath of seasonal air… once you’ve seen both of these routines half a dozen times… you start thinking to yourself the panto is stuck like a record!

 

Kieran Morris (Aladdin) and local lady Carragon Guest (Jasmine) have both vocal talent and chemistry to melt a young child’s heart. In 2021, I think we’ve needed this.

 

We all need a good laugh and you get plenty in Aladdin courtesy of BGT finalist Paul Burling (Wishee Washee) and Greg Powrie (Widow Twankey) Be prepared for belly ache with these two.

 

Finally, you need a villain to boo… Abanazar (Joshua Ford) certainly gets the audience going. He’s a natural, and plays the part perfectly.

 

Throw into the mix lavish costumes, dazzling dancing, beautiful sets, music to fit and you have a 21st pantomime that is sure to start your Christmas with a bang.  And a first for Rotherham… the Twelve Days of Christmas gag!

 

Get your tickets today before they fly off on Aladdin’s carpet!

 

Tim Foers 5/5  

HULL NEW THEATRE - SNOW WHITE - 30/12/21

 

Snow White – Hull New Theatre

From 11th Dec – 2nd Jan

Crossroads

2hr 15mins

 

After the dreadful 18mths that theatres up and down the country have faced, it was nice to see a pantomime that puts modernness into a traditional tale that works. Snow White ticks all the right boxes for me, a man who is a panto fanatic desires tradition at the ‘helm’ of the plot and daft ‘modernised’ touches to fill it out.

 

I was really looking forward to seeing this pantomime simply because I’ve read countless reviews about one of its stars… Ni0gel Ellacott (Nurse Nigella). Nigel has been a performer of pantomimes for 47 years and I definitely wanted to check out just how good he was myself! Like his Marmite costume… you either love him or hate him… (never tried Marmite), but I can definitely say I love Nigel! (As a pantomime dame of course!) He’s a professional of the highest degree, and he’s definitely my favourite Dame portrayer… ( Not sure if Scott or any of Nigel’s other boyfriends (part of show) would agree…)

 

Nigel and Neil Hurst (Muddles) totally made the ‘comic routines’ their own. I especially loved the ‘trumpet’ gag. It would be wrong of me not to mention the ‘Shirley Shaw’ gag with Poppy Tierney (Queen Lucretia) a total masterpiece only true pros could pull off!

 

Poppy’s level of evilness was not too frightening for the younger members in the audience. Her vocal ability was definitely ‘frighteningly’ good!

 

Neil’s charisma and energy was so vibrant, you could tell he was enjoying every minute of it. What a shame he missed me with his water pistol! Perfect man to play the part of Muddles as he had the kids and grown-ups in the palm of his hand.

 

Faye Brookes (Snow White) & Corey Mitchell (Prince Harry of Humber) had undoubtedly the ‘finest’ chemistry and vocal ability to make the heroes of the story believable and magical for kids and grown-ups alike.

 

Lavish sets, catchy songs, brilliant dances, costumes to ‘wow’ at and of course 7 magnificent dwarfs.  A Panto that truly was ‘the fairest of them all’.  Thanks to the amazing script by Alan McHugh.

 

Tim Foers

5/5  

SNOW WHITE - MIDDLETON ARENA - 3/12/22

BEAUTY & THE BEAST - ROTHERHAM CIVIC - 17/12/22

DICK WHITTINGTON - THEATRE ROYAL WAKEFIELD - 29/12/22