I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Sleeping Beauty performed as a panto before. When we were invited to the press opening of Sleeping Beauty at The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool last week, I really didn’t know what to expect. Turns out it is really rather a good storyline for a panto and great for an Easter production.
The Epstein theatre is an absolute little gem in the centre of Liverpool. A tiny but traditional seating area so you really feel close to the stage and the performance, no matter where you are sat.
The panto itself had plenty of opportunities for audience participation, the part that Tara enjoys the best. She still chuckles about when she got squirted with water and Silly Billy/Nurse Nellie came running into the audience. The beauty of the venue being so cosy is that everyone felt included. Michael Chapman (Nurse Nellie) was completely brilliant when he got local children up onto the stage – Really quick witted dealing with children and utterly hilarious. My favourite bit of the show.
Princess Aurora/Sleeping Beauty is played by Lucy Edge, who we weren’t familiar with but was such a good singer. I believe this is the first panto for Silly Billy star, Kyle Corrin but you would never know – he seemed really confident. Lee Brennan (from 911) is used exactly as he should be – there are plenty of opportunities for him to show off his singing ability and clever ways of incorporating 911 songs into the panto too.
There were parts of the panto that were quite close to the knuckle with rude jokes – Violet (10) mentioned a couple of times that she didn’t get the joke that parts of the audience seemed to find hilarious. I would urge the writers to cut out the ‘little prick’ jokes as 3 times in one family panto was excessive and spoiled an otherwise clever production. There are quite a lot of long dialogue scenes but I’m not sure how the storyline of Sleeping Beauty could be adapted without – Tina Malone handled her scenes like the professional she is and is genuinely a bit creepy (in a good way!)
By the end, the audience were up dancing which is a great way to end the performance – The musicians are brilliant at the Epstein.
Sleeping Beauty is only on for a short run until this Sunday 23rd April.
Tickets: Adults £18.50, Concessions £16.50, Family Tickets £60
To book: Call 0844 888 4411, visit www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk or book in person at the theatre box office (open 2pm-6pm Mon-Thu & 12pm-6pm Fri-Sat)
Photos provided by David Munn