Sleeping Beauty, Connaught Theatre, Worthing, until January 5, call 01903 206206

First published in The Critic by

Pantomime is alive and well in Worthing.

This year’s production of Sleeping Beauty must be the classiest seen there for some time. With elaborate sets and costumes together with a first rate cast working as a team, this production exudes excellence.

Although many traditional elements are featured, such as the song sheet, the classroom scene, the ghost sketch and the slapstick of the inept wallpaper hangers, there is also innovation.

Making a change from the usual sugar sweet good fairy, we have in Helen Peters a comical one complete with northern accent. On the other hand, Nikki Kelly’s evil Carabosse is a traditional bad fairy at her worst, fully deserving all the audience’s boos and hisses.

More comedy comes from Bobby Crush’s Dame and from Tony Rudd as Muddles. Both are quick in establishing rapport with the audience with their corny jokes and topical references. Crush also gets to show off his famed skills at the piano while Rudd shines with his clever impersonations.

There is plenty of singing and dancing as well, with Jon Moses and Sophie, the romantic leads, delivering some powerful numbers – occasionally having to vie with the overloud musicians.

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