New dimension to panto fun

Linda Lusardi and Sam Kane
Linda Lusardi and Sam Kane

Sleeping Beauty, Derngate Theatre, playing until January 5.

The story of Sleeping Beauty is a familiar one to us all. And this version of the family favourite is a delight from start to finish.

Husband and wife Linda Lusardi and Sam Kane team up on stage again, heading up the cast for the fun and frolics.

And it is fair to say the audience were left fully immersed in this lively production. As well as great live theatre, we were asked to don 3D glasses at two points in the show when events took on another dimension.

In the enchanted forest scenes a projected backdrop sent creepy creatures out to within ‘virtual’ touching distance of the audience. From spooky ghosts to scary spiders, we were all left spellbound by the clever use of special effects. Screams echoed from the auditorium in this unexpected twist on events. But a truly impressive addition to the show the likes of which I have never seen before in a pantomime.

Linda Lusardi makes a splendidly evil panto baddie in the guise of Carabosse who curses poor Sleeping Beauty to prick her finger and fall asleep for 100 years. Andy Jones’ Muddles and Sam Kane’s Oddjob made a capable comedy pairing and provided most of the laughs. The ‘cracker-type’ jokes came thick and fast and the sprinkling of magic throughout the show was a real bonus. We were all left mesmerised by the birds magic act. (That’s all I shall say - but just see for yourself.)

A bit more of audience participation that one comes to expect from pantomimes, would have been welcome - children were not invited onto the stage - and where was the traditional song sheet for the singalong at the end?

But familiar songs and a heavy helping of madcap moments also contributed to make this a great fun show for the festive season. You won’t be disappointed.

Review by Amanda Chalmers