One panto you won’t sleep through!

Cast of Sleeping Beauty pantomime in the Webster Theatre.
Cast of Sleeping Beauty pantomime in the Webster Theatre.

WHAT do a Doric Dame, a BBC-accented prince, a shopaholic princess and a loan-shark witch have in common?

NLP’s production of John Binnie’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at the Webster Memorial Theatre of course!

The principle characters in the Sleeping Beauty pantomime in the Webster Theatre.

The principle characters in the Sleeping Beauty pantomime in the Webster Theatre.

Once again audiences in Arbroath will be able watch a professionally produced panto starring well-known faces from Scottish television, this year including two actors from BBC’s ‘Gary Tank Commander’ and ‘River City’.

The slick production has everything the family panto needs, commentary on modern society, a fairytale love story and belly laughs and silliness aplenty.

In a ‘Trading Places’ type situation, super-posh Prince Hearty leaves home seeking a life, and meets bumbling Bobby Bio and falls for Princess Briar Rose.

Paul James Corrigan has a great talent for accents, and he effortlessly switches from aristo to pleb in the blink of an eye to create much hilarity.

He also has a fine singing voice and features in a number of items including ‘I’m on my way’, ‘Our House’, and a very entertaining techno-rap portion during his duet with Briar Rose in ‘This is love’.

Best of all though was his cut-glass Queen parody ‘One wants to break free’.

His sidekick and sometime love rival Bobby Bio, played by fellow ‘Gary Tank Commander’ actor Robert Jack, makes a fantastic foil and the pair have a great stage chemistry which really comes to the fore in their hilarious rampage around the theatre wielding a cream cake.

Graeme Waggott returns in his traditional role as the clueless monarch who lets his daughter run the kingdom into debt and the reluctant object of Mammie Manure’s affections. Possibly my favourite line of his comes at the end when he is asked if he is sure about his wedding to the dame. He answered: “No, but she is!”

Fiona Wood plays the shopaholic teenage princess, Briar Rose, who falls in love with Prince Hearty and is put to sleep by Nellie Needles the villain.

Fiona has a fantastic voice, which really comes to the fore in her version of Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ and in particular her impressive tremolo in her duet with the prince in ‘This is love’.

Amanda Beveridge plays the villain, Nellie Needles is a wicked witch / money-lender who has her claws deep in the kingdom.

Where many would have gone overboard with the part Amanda keeps the witch on a leash and would do any Disney wicked witch proud.

She had some cracking numbers to sing, her duet with Briar Rose during Bjork’s ‘It’s oh so quiet’ being a prime example.

Gordon Brandie reprised his role as the dame, this year bringing to life Mammie Manure, mother of Bobby Bio.

She introduces herself in a very strong Aberdeen accent as “A yummy mummy looking for hubby possibilities”.

Mammy Manure has some of the craziest costumes, the most ridiculous lines, but probably the most fun as her cringe-inducing flirtations carry her through the show.

The dancers are split into two teams, alternating throughout the show’s run, and during their many appearances were perfectly drilled and full of grace and enthusiasm.

The wardrobe department can be proud of their fantastic creations. Particularly eye-catching were Mammie Manure’s cake dress and Nellie Needles’ witch outfit.

The scenery was all extremely detailed and the props were of a similarly high standard.

Sleeping Beauty was a well-polished and highly entertaining panto and will run at the Webster Memorial Theatre until December 27. Tickets are available from the Box Office on 01241 435800.