With oodles of traditional panto flavours, The Connaught’s production of Sleeping Beauty is a magical spectacular.
Slinky and sassy, (the dad next to me was utterly smitten) Nikki Kelly bewitches as bad fairy Carabosse. Oozing glamour and malevolence in equal measure, perfectly enunciated curses and wicked incantations tumble from her tongue.
Helen Peters, playing the Lilac Fairy as a feisty Northern lass, has a singing voice beautiful enough to make you believe in happy endings, while Sophie Bloom’s Princess Aurora is sweet, fun and flirty.
Peter Jamieson as the King is a suitably bumbling but lovable duffer, who together with Tony Rudd as Muddles and Bobby Crush as Nurse Katy Cough-Drop provides plenty of laughter, including some fantastically executed slapstick.
Bobby Crush’s piano solo is superb, but he is also an accomplished panto Dame. Camper than a sequin snowstorm, he has the audience in the palm of his hand.
Jon Moses as Price Rupert of Rustington is dashing, dapper and in wonderful voice – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s loss is surely Worthing’s gain.
Supported by an excellent cast, not least the talented and thoroughly professional children from the Glendale Theatre Arts School, the musical numbers (to be picky, a tad too rich in bouncy pop) are courtesy of a cracking live band.
Topped off with a stunning set (and mention must be made of the most helpful Front of House team in British Theatre), Beauty may indeed be sleeping, but the Connaught is alive and high-kicking this Christmas.