I’ve been tempted to try Sleeping through a couple of the recent Key Theatre pantos, but this year’s is a Beauty.
It is fun, there are some great musical numbers, and there is a real chemistry between the cast that makes it compulsive viewing, no matter who is on stage.
The setting, for large parts of the show, is against a curtain, and the smaller stage , for me, makes it a more intimate performance - and in the first half in particular, quite “music hall”.
There were some excellent performances, but the pick of the bunch, for me, was Josh Haberfield as court jester Jingles.
He has a great stage presence, and an energy and enthusiasm to go with terrific timing and delivery. His mannerisms reminded me of Michael McIntyre - and I loved his “fascination” with the short-tunic, high-boot wearing Prince Florian, a thigh-slappingly good Celeste Collier.
Fred Broom was a natural as the Dame - Queen Iona Trumpet - and I really warmed to Sam Pay’s portrayal of King Donald Trumpet, his name giving rise to a couple of POTUS jokes, not to mention a speech about building a wall and getting the people of Stamford to pay for it!
The Good Fairies shared some amusing moments - and plenty of toilet gags - while Lauren Storer was a convincingly wicked Carabosse, the baddie of the piece, who excelled with the cover of Taylor Swift’s Look What you Made Me Do. A big scene, brilliantly done with the talented young local performers in the cast.
And Rebecca Levy caught the eye as Princess Aurora, shining with Ed Sheeran’s Friends in one of the standout scenes featuring the woodland animals.
The ballet scene also worked brilliantly, with great timing and comedy from MD Robert Hazle as Potty and Queen Iona.
For me, The Key has got its mojo back, so hats off to writer/director Simon Egerton and producer Maggie Saxon.
You can see Sleeping Beauty until January 7. Details at www.vivacity-peterborough.com