Review: Sleeping Beauty at the Lichfield Garrick, Lichfield

Director: Tim Ford

Writer: Paul Hendy

Musical Director: Dave Culling

Choreographer: Ashley Nottingham

The Lichfield Garrick Panto has a new a new dame, a new collaboration and an all-around new experience.

It takes a little while for the script to settle in and at times the pantomime traditions almost felt like obstacles in the way of the story unfolding. However, once the audience is introduced to the role they need to play the pace snaps into gear right until the grand finale.

Where this panto stumbles with pace, is more than made up by the cast with their larger than life characters full of excitement and charm, apart from Siâni Owen who plays the sinister bad fairy Carabosse.

Sam Rabone goes down a triumph in his debut as the Garrick Dame who no doubt will remain a familiar face for many years to come. Ben Thornton has a natural charm and his quick wit and comedic timing is a welcome addition to the production. Rebecca Ketley also makes the perfectly sweet Fairy Moonbeam.

The characters make no denial they are ‘hamming it up’ in the city of Hamalot and there are moments where they almost fool the audience into thinking things are not going as planned. One scene, set in an abandoned bathroom could have almost come straight from  The Play That Goes Wrong and is a pure delight to watch and enjoy no matter how old you are.

A pantomime without big company numbers would be like bread without butter and thankfully Sleeping Beauty has lashings of them to keep the energy alive. The whole Ensemble don’t put a foot wrong with Ashley Nottingham’s complex and mesmerising choreography with an extra dose jazz hands and smiles.

The 2016 Garrick Panto has all the key elements that you would want from a panto;  Larger than life spectacular scenery and special effects; musical numbers that could have you dancing in your seats and plenty of bad puns. With a new collaboration with Evolution Productions, it’s a return back to traditional panto in Lichfield, complete with buckets full of audience participation and water that will be sure to entertain everyone who is lucky enough to get a ticket.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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