A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty, Wolverhampton Grand



With the future of the country totally unknown and in a year that has just been a little bit, well, grim, there's nothing like a glittering and magical panto to put a smile on your face in time for the festive season. With the ultimate panto dame, back up dancers dressed as Wolves players, a really rather wicked witch and the queen of the Black Country herself, this year's offering of Sleeping Beauty at Wolverhampton Grand is one that simply can't be missed. 



The story follows the classic Sleeping Beauty tale, where Princess Beauty pricks her finger on a spinning wheel cursed by Carabosse. The curse means that she will sleep for 100 years, unless her friends can save her, especially the Prince who can bring her back to life with a true loves kiss. But of course, there is a Panto twist to bring the story to life with much more laughs and silliness than the original story. However, it isn't quite set in a magical world, it's set in good old Wolverhampton, which can be magical in its own I way I guess...


The panto boasts some cracking showbiz extras, including Richard Cadell, who takes on the role of Muddles, alongside his glamorous assistant, Sooty, who ended up being the star of the show. And don't worry, Sweep is also there to join in the fun too. Ian Adams takes on the role of the fabulous Panto dame Queen Wilhelmina and is joined by Black Country icon herself Doreen Tipton, who the audience simply adored.
On the back of her Strictly success, Debbie McGee takes on the role of The Lovely Fairy Crystal, and even squeezes in a dance or two full of steps she picked up during her dancing days. Oliver Ormson, who recently played Lucas in The Addams Family, helps bring a West End touch to the show alongside Bethan-Wyn Davies, who plays Princess Beauty herself and Julie Paton takes on the role of the super evil Carabosse, who got totally booed every time she appeared on stage. 


There was of course plenty of 'he's behind you!' panto moments which of course, completely make the show. But for me, the show couldn't have been as fun and magical as it was without Muddles and Sooty, who performed several magic tricks on stage which had members of the audience in awe, and it was so heartwarming to see so many kids completely amazed. There's also plenty of local references to laugh along at, with the best part of the show for me being a young boy from the audience, who told everyone he was from the 'dodgy bit' of Wolverhampton. All I'm saying is, it's a good job we've got thick skins round our ends. 


There was also a huge range of super cool special effects which took place throughout the panto, which really helped to add that special sprinkle of magic to the evening. With a huge dragon flying out into the audience, as well as Debbie McGee floating above the stage, the production is so much more than just your standard panto and each set design has clearly taken a lot of hard work. There are a few musical numbers during the show, including a Kylie song, and a few Greatest Showman tracks. There isn't exactly a stand out song, but the panto fun more than makes up for that.

The panto is by far one of the best ones I've seen over the last few years. It is family fun at its best, and is packed full of jokes, innuendos and a few raunchy references which hopefully completely flew over the children's heads. It is exactly what a panto should be, with several added extras and plenty of magical moments. It is ultimately the best way to start your Christmas celebrations, and the perfect opportunity to spend time with loved ones during the most wonderful time of the year.
Sleeping Beauty is on stage at Wolverhampton Grand until January 13, 2019. Don't miss it! 


RATING: 9/10

Photo credit: Tim Thursfield from Express & Star
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