Review: Sleeping Beauty

UPSTAGERS returned to the King’s Hall stage in Ilkley with their annual pantomime this weekend and once again triumph, this time with their take on the tale of Sleeping Beauty. After last year’s award winning production of Aladdin, this pantomime had a lot to live up to and it certainly does deliver. The production, brilliantly written and directed by John Clark and Andrew Hewitt, was truly professional from start to finish and packed full of sparkle, charm and wit.

We follow the tale of Princess Aurora who is cursed at her christening by the evil fairy Maleficent and is destined to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and sleep for one hundred years. There are plenty of classic pantomime diversions on the way to dazzle the audience with superb song and dance routines, some hilarious comedy sketches and plenty of audience interaction. With brilliant costumes and scenery, the whole effect of this production was simply spectacular!

In the title role was Lois Brook as Princess Aurora, partnered by her suitor Harry Hodge as Prince Rupert. They both have stunning singing voices and superb stage presence. Their musical numbers were delivered with such confidence and expertise.

Hannah Green was outstanding as Maleficent and oozed evil in every which way. She too has an amazing singing voice and the audience loved booing and hissing at her villainous antics.

Joey Wilby as Willy (The Court Everything) was simply superb – his comedy timing never missed a beat – he is clearly very much at home on stage. His well crafted routine with a giant balloon is evidence of the preparation that these performers and Upstagers give to their shows.

There were fabulous supporting performances from the three beautiful fairies – Harriet Dibb, Lily Normington and Alycia Booth. This trio worked so well together and each of them look absolutely stunning in their fabulous costumes. In fact, each and every supporting cast member contributed with brilliant characterisation to give the show wonderful depth and detail.

But special mention must go to Elliot Broadfoot who played the Dame, Nanny Nora. From start to finish, the energy of this young man was incredible and he kept the audience in fits of laughter from start to finish. His musical numbers were superbly delivered and he completely dazzled in every single outfit, of which there were many!

It was fantastic to see the ensemble cast of well over sixty people ranging from the Tinies up to an incredibly accomplished group of senior dancers singing and dancing with such energy and enthusiasm. The choreography by Megan Crowley was fabulous and just kept effervescing throughout the performance. The Midnight Melodies Band, under the musical direction of Phil Walsh were excellent, playing a superb selection of musical numbers which went down a treat with the audience.

All in all this production shows that Upstagers are at the top of their pantomime game and it is well worth catching before it closes on the 2nd February.

Sally Holmes, NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association) regional representative

25th January 2019