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Sleeping Beauty  February  2024

Review of a fantasic week

Promenade Productions, is delighted to announce that their next family pantomime will be Sleeping Beauty.

The show will run from Wednesday, February 14th to Saturday, February 18th 2024 at the Playhouse Theatre in Cheltenham. Due to popular demand, we are also adding extra 2 pm matinee performances on On Wednesday Saturday & Sunday.

Sleeping Beauty is a classic fairy tale that has been enjoyed by generations of children. The story follows the beautiful Princess Aurora, who is cursed by an evil fairy to prick her finger on a spindle and fall into a deep sleep. Only true love's kiss can break the spell.

What to Expect

Promenade Productions' Sleeping Beauty is sure to be a magical experience for the whole family, expect plenty of laughs, audience participation, and all the traditional pantomime elements you love.

There will be boos for the baddies, cheers for the goodies, and plenty of opportunity to sing along to the catchy songs.

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty


Sleeping Beauty 

Noda show writeup of Sleeping Beauty


Sleeping Beauty Cheltenham Playhouse February 15th 2024 

It was an honour to be invited to this 40th Anniversary production of Sleeping Beauty, it was a very special night, as on February 15th, 1984, Promenade Productions was established.  This version of Sleeping Beauty was by Alan Frayn and was a truly celebratory production.  It had all the elements you expect in a Pantomime, lively dances, lovely songs, colourful costumes, forces for good and evil, a Dame, a dashing Principal boy, a romantic heroine, comic characters and lots of bad jokes and audience participation. 


It started with a prologue which introduced us to Fairy Lilac and Bad Witch Hazel, setting the story.  We then met the villagers of Muddleby on March in a lively opening number which was confidently sung and danced, and everyone looked happy.  All the hired backdrops were of a good quality and well painted, and with the addition of the classroom flats, free standing trees, and furnishings such as cot, thrones, sculptures, cauldron and spinning wheel, took us to the various locations.  The lighting enhanced the backdrops and the costumes and added atmosphere to the locations.  There was a lovely effect used for the fast forwarding of time, and the fire under the cauldron with steam pouring from it.  I liked the lighting effect for the rhyme about the key.  There were well operated follow spots which added extra depth to various scenes.  Radio mics were well operated and controlled allowing the voices to be heard over the well-controlled levels of the backing tracks.  Other sound effects were well sourced, as with the creaking door and footsteps going upstairs.   


The costumes were excellent, they fitted well, were colourful and suited the characters, and their social standing.  The regal royal outfits, the gorgeous attire, the appropriately dressed Muddles, the palace messengers dressed as postmen, the colour coded Rainbow Fairies, the debonaire Prince, Nurse Hettie Harpic’s zany outfits, the slightly unusual witches costume and the stylish suit for Fairy Lilac.  Make-up looked good, and hairstyles and wigs all added to the visual effect of the show. 


The choice of music which included a good mix of older and more modern numbers gave great scope for various dance styles, and with a dedicated team of dancers combined with chorus provided the opportunity for choreographer Ceri Winrow to devise lively and interesting routines, which worked well and were performed confidently.  The opening number set the tone for the show; the schoolroom scene was very well done and energetic; the dance leading up to midnight had a real party feel; and the walk down and finale ended the show on a high. 


MD Jodie Dwight had taught the songs well, creating a backing track is a complicated task, and singing to it is not easy as there is no leeway for anything to go wrong whist performing.  Everyone sang confidently, with the ensemble providing the addition volume and support when required. 


Everyone had worked well on their characters and there were strong performances.  Fairy Lilac gave an excellent performance.  This young man showed maturity beyond his years in stage presence, timing and performing skills, and was obviously enjoying himself.  He sang well and never put a foot wrong in his dance routines, which was amazing considering the height of the heels he was wearing.  His lullaby was powerful, and he really engaged with the audience whilst singing it.  Bad Witch Hazel was a true baddy, and relished the fact, the audience had no problem booing her.  I really liked the spell concocting scene.  Her transformation when her power of evil ran out was lovely.  Muddles was a strong character.   

He was the palace handyman, and as the name implies was always making mistakes.  He was a lovable character who the audience responded to with the cry of “Don’t get Muddled Muddles”.  He worked well with Hettie Harpic providing many laughs.  King Cactus, was a haughty character, expecting people to do as he said but with no parenting skills.  Queen Marigold certainly knew her place in society but was not so domineering; again she had no idea how to look after a baby, which led to humorous moments.  Nurse Hattie Harpic, nursemaid to Princess Rose and the village school mistress; a larger-than-life character who worked well with Muddles to provide laughs and flirted outrageously with a young man in the audience, returning to him several times.  Fetch and Carrie, palace messengers: they were a comic duo, who worked well together, who were responsible for delivering invitations to the party, and the scene where they were reading out the addresses was very funny and extremely well timed.  They were very good at making the audience laugh.  Egor, Bad Witch Hazel’s assistant, was a lovely cameo role, this character was even more evil and heartless than Witch Hazel and the actress was obviously relishing it.  The Rainbow Fairies, who were young fairies in training, handled their roles well and sang and danced as you would expect young fairies to.  They delivered their lines well and put the sleeping spell on the Palace.  There were two people playing Princess Rose one as a child and the other when she turns 16.  Young Princess Rose, had good characterization, was a feisty young girl and was lovely in the schoolroom scene.  Older Princess Rose is such a difficult role as she does not appear until well into the script and then falls asleep, but made her presence felt when she was awake.  She looked the part and interacted well with the Prince in both his guises, moved and sang well and had the lovely duet with the Prince.  Prince Alexis/Alexander was a complex role as Alexander was the great grandson of Alexis.  This principal boy made an impact by entering through the audience, was gallant and brave.  She had good stage presence and was commanding, moved and danced well, why wouldn’t Rose be smitten?  Everyone was supportive of the main action, singing, moving and reacting  well. 


Director Ceri Winrow had taken this interesting script, with one or two unexpected twists and brought it to life.  She had made good use of the talents of her cast and production team, who had all helped to deliver a joyous Pantomime, which the audience enjoyed.  I heard someone say, “pantomime is not my thing but I enjoyed this one”.  Well done everyone. 


Frankie Telford 

Regional Representative SW District 15 

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