Review: Sleeping Beauty at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Writer: Alan McHugh 
Director: Ian Adams
Co-Director: Adrian Jackson 

Three years at the helm of the Wolverhampton Grand and Adrian Jackson is making his mark on the annual pantomime which this year he co-directs.

Jackson appoints longtime collaborator Ian Adams once more as the Dame but also for the first time, Director of this production. With a talented but diverse cast featuring Sooty, Debbie McGee (Fairy Crystal) and Black Country favourite Doreen (Nurse Doreen), this could easily have been a pick and mix of stars all shoehorned together but Adams uses the script by Alan McHugh to spin up a fairy tale panto for audiences young and old.

The script by Hugh’s is good but there are moments that feel a bit rushed, such as the slaying of the Dragon. This is such an epic special effect that the demise of such a powerful creature is a little underwhelming to be resolved in a couple of minutes. Saying that there was plenty of brilliant moments, particularly how the role of Richard Cadell, his magic and Sooty are closely weaved into the plot. 

Pantomimes traditionally delight younger audiences but this one seems to go down equally well with the adults, especially with the naughty innuendos and the revisiting of some of Sooty and Sweep’s most famous sketches. 

There is plenty of audience participation and just a warning from those who escape to the back of the theatre to avoid getting involved; there’s no escaping getting a bit damp! It’s all part of the fun and it’s great to see everyone being thought of and included. 

Julie Patron is a sinister Caraboose and as Choreographer she creates lively but beautifully elegant moments. A duet between McGee and ensemble member Stylianos Hadjisavvas was stunning and just one example of where the talents of the star cast were brought to the forefront.

Olivier Ormson has great stage presence and makes a very dashing Prince Harry while Bethan-Wyn Davies is a sweet Princess Beauty who also has a delightful voice. It’s something to be congratulated that although there is a lot of fun and craziness with the star cast, at the centre are two very talented actors leading the story.

From Cadell’s jaw-dropping magic to slick musical numbers and a central focus on a fairytale love story, this is a panto full of fun, wonder and enjoyment for the family. The opening number, local references and presence of Doreen will delight a home crowd, but this is a grand starstudded pantomime on an epic scale that is a delight to watch.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

 5money*Decision based on a Ticket price of £16.50 + £3 Booking Fee.For more info on this new value for money rating please visit here: Introducing a new kind of rating 

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