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Review of Sleeping Beauty: The Fairy’s Tale at Norwich Theatre Royal: Panto starring Coronation Street’s Beverley Callard is for 21st century with many old favourite bits





Sleeping Beauty: The Fairy's Tale – Theatre Royal, Norwich

The annual Theatre Royal panto is a big part of Christmas celebrations for many families - it is the biggest one in the region and always pulls out all the stops, with great costumes, cheeky jokes, energetic dancing, fab songs and a talented cast.

The star of the show is former Coronation Street resident Beverley Callard who played landlady Liz.

Beverley Callard as The Evil Fairy. Picture: Richard Jarmy Photography
Beverley Callard as The Evil Fairy. Picture: Richard Jarmy Photography
The ensemble cast. Picture: Richard Jarmy Photography
The ensemble cast. Picture: Richard Jarmy Photography

She is the Evil Fairy, all green with envy and hellbent on revenge for not getting a party invitation - we all know that feeling!

Beverley doesn't put a foot wrong and, most importantly, looks like she's having great fun, too!

She is joined by Dame Extraordinaire Richard Gauntlett who is back for about the twentieth-odd year, this time as The Queen, and yes, his frocks most definitely don't disappoint, while Joe Tracini, the panto writer this year, is the Good Fairy, Dave, who might just be a bit more of a dragon than an actual fairy.

Richard Gauntlett as The Queen. Picture: AJ Feather Photography
Richard Gauntlett as The Queen. Picture: AJ Feather Photography
Joe Tracini as The Good Fairy. Picture: Richard Jarmy Photography
Joe Tracini as The Good Fairy. Picture: Richard Jarmy Photography
Karl Queensborough as The Prince and Millie O'Connell as The Princess. Picture: Laura Francis/@dinky_in_norfolk
Karl Queensborough as The Prince and Millie O'Connell as The Princess. Picture: Laura Francis/@dinky_in_norfolk

Millie O'Connell, who you might recognise from the hit musical Six, is a feisty Princess who can save herself, actually, while I loved Karl Queensborough, former star of the West End’s Hamilton, as a well-meaning but vain Prince.

It's not a traditional version of this classic tale but one which shares the dream of getting children involved in live theatre and hopefully developing a lifelong love of it.

It also gets across many messages - that it's okay to be different, that things don't always work out the first time, and that family is important.

But while this is a panto for the 21st century, you can expect many of the old favourite bits and pieces - there is a slapstick routine as Joe and Richard attempt to do a spot of wallpapering, there's a competitive audience singalong, and, thankfully, a happy ever after, too.

Karl Queensborough as The Prince and Millie O'Connell as The Princess with the ensemble. Picture: Richard Jarmy Photography
Karl Queensborough as The Prince and Millie O'Connell as The Princess with the ensemble. Picture: Richard Jarmy Photography
Trevor Lin as Munch and Beverley Callard as The Evil Fairy. Picture: Richard Jarmy Photography
Trevor Lin as Munch and Beverley Callard as The Evil Fairy. Picture: Richard Jarmy Photography
The ensemble during a dance number. Picture: Richard Jarmy Photography
The ensemble during a dance number. Picture: Richard Jarmy Photography

Mention must go to all those involved as the set is just right - all jolly and bright - the band somehow keep order, the youngsters taking part are brill and theatre boss, Stephen Crocker, is the executive producer.

Do look out for a canary in there as well!

The panto continues until January 7. Visit www.norwichtheatre.org for more.

Review by Sarah Hardy



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