The Kings Theatre delivers a wonderful pantomime every year, and so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to review it this year. The story is that of Sleeping Beauty, one which we all know and love starring Helen Kent as Princess Beauty, Tony Adams (Crossroads) as King Egbert and Christopher Marlowe (New Apollo Theatre Company) as Gorgeous Gertie.
In a twist on the traditional story we meet Princess Beauty days before her 18th Birthday and learn of the curse of Carabosse, the wicked fairy played by Lynne McGranger (Home and Away) laid upon her on the day of her Christening in a flashback. Can Christopher Maloney (X Factor 2012), as Prince Valiant, save her?
The show opens with a rendition of Dancing in the Street and the musical numbers come thick and fast including nods to One Direction, Elton John and Abba. The show makes good use of Maloney’s talent, and he sings several solos.
Christopher Marlowe is clearly enjoying himself as the pantomime dame, his enthusiasm infectious, and his costume changes numerous and suitably outrageous. Daniella Westbrook (I hardly need add of Eastenders fame) shines as Fairy Sparkles, the modern Cockney Fairy with a Twitter account.
The real star of the show though, according to my daughter, and I have to admit I agree, is Matt Dallen who plays Chester the Jester. Within seconds he has the audience in the palm of his hand and artfully directs the audience participation throughout. Even I am yelling ‘Hiya Chester!’ every time he comes on stage (and that, frankly, is unheard of).
The show contains plenty of humour and slapstick entertaining adults and children alike. The highlight for me was the rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas performed by just four members of the cast. The cast were playing pranks on each other during the rendition and at points it all got a bit muddled, but the resulting chaos, whether designed or otherwise, only made it more funny.
The supporting dancers deserve mention, in particular the children, who put in polished performances.
This is a wonderful family show which has humour, music, dancing and romance. What more could you want at Christmas?
PS. It was Tony Adams birthday yesterday – so Happy Birthday to him.