Sleeping Beauty at Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch

So it’s finally Panto season and I was lucky enough to be at the opening night of Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch’s (pronounced ‘ornchurch apparently) Sleeping Beauty. Oh yes I was!! Let’s kick this review off with a traditional pantomime rhyme:

The story you see, was interesting me, 

For what was once a classic, is now filled with modern day magic.

The plot: 

‘In a magical fairy kingdom, happy plans are underway for Princess Raury’s christening. But a bad fairy has been missed off the invite list, and descends on the party casting a wicked curse.

So when 18 year old Raury pricks her finger on a spinning wheel, and falls asleep for many years, it takes bravery and courage to wake up and face a very different world. But the bad fairy is up to more mischief, and Raury is soon setting off to the rescue, aided by her zany Nanny and family, to ensure true love can find its way…

Photos by Mark Sepple

Sleeping Beauty, from start to finish was filled with perfected comedy; the majority of which came from the ever so famous dame character, who in this show is known as: Super Nanny! Dominic Gee-Burch never missed a moment. It was one right after the other!! He nailed the characteristics of a traditional dame and delivered every time he stepped onto the stage. Fairy Falalala-la-la-la-la (Laura Sillet) and Vampira Vanity (Hannah Woodward) complimented each other well as the pantos Fairy and Villainess. They sang their songs well and kept their energy throughout the show. I was particularly impressed by the brass playing from the both.

This is one thing I ADORED about this show. Everyone played multiple instruments and what I enjoyed even more was that all of the actor musicians switched to play most of the instruments available therefore showing off their sensational musical talents. None of which would have been possible without the wonderful music, lyrics and musical direction of Tom Self. My stand out songs of the show were; ‘Here’s to the future’, a whole cast number full of joy, energy and happiness and the leading lady power number ‘Fight for the one you love’ sang by Raury an uplifting song full of determination and courage. 

My issue throughout this show was that I was not able to hear all of the lyrics in every song due to the sound imbalance between the band and vocals. The band was so loud compared to the vocals. I was disappointed and frustrated by this because I loved the music partially for  ‘Song you’ll sing’ by Vampira and but I couldn’t hear/ understand all of the lyrics.

Direction was on point in this pantomime. This was all down to Caroline Leslie. The stage was used very well and transitions were stunning. I knew changes were happening BUT I was never waiting too long for them to happen which was great! The show has beautiful pace! However, I would have liked some of the actors to have taken a little bit more time with some comedy lines so that the audience had a chance to give the reaction they deserved. For what choreography there was within this show, it was clean and presented well.

The whole cast definitely gave the audience a great time! Everyone left having laughed throughout and this is exactly what panto season is all about. I really enjoyed Sleeping Beauty and the modern day message of “A woman doesn’t need to be married to be happy.”

It’s a heart warming production that everyone local should go and see!!

Review by Laura Whittingham

You can find out more about Sleeping Beauty on Queen’s Theatre’s website here.

If you like this review you might also like my reviews of Frozen, Mary Poppins and Six.

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