The Sleeping Beauty (2006)

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designed by Stuart Draper

by Norman Robbins

Directed by Stuart Draper

Performances: Thu 5th to Sat 14th January 2006, Bell Theatre


King Cedric and Queen Semolina of Entertania have organised a big Christening bash for their baby daughter - and all the immortals have been invited... or so they think.

All goes well until the evil Carabosse turns up, a little miffed that she has not been invited (they thought she was already dead). She puts a curse on the baby, vowing that she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and DIE on her sixteenth birthday. The Good Fairy Azuriel manages to prevent the Princess's death - instead she will fall asleep for 500 years...

"100 per cent enjoyable entertainment for the whole family"
FIVE (OUT OF FIVE) STARS, The Croydon Advertiser



Swing Group


Plus 33 Youth Group in two alternating casts...



“Good script, well directed, good audience involvement (will be much better at matinees), effects fitting (great but don't distract from performances) set better (sometimes found my self admiring set rather than watching show) and all ages catered for.”

“we had a brilliant time - shouting like idiots in all the right (and sometimes wrong) places, and I've haven't laughed so much in months -I was a kid all over again!

From the opening curtain (which took my breath away) to to closing bows, my only complaint was that it was too short.

As a guide to how the younger ones took it, at one point when Tickles said they were lost in the jungle, a small girl behind me shouted "but you've got us!".

Brilliant. Can't wait till next year's!”

Just to say that I thought the panto was brilliant - looked as slick as anything the pros could put on. Special mention to Steve and Alan - really funny double act and (Steve especially) great at getting everybody involved. Very impressed with dance routines, and the smiley faces all round - I know how difficult that can be when you're dancing and singing (oh boy, do I). And the set and tech stuff - so effective - amazing what had been achieved.”

“This show definitely knocks the pants off a number of 'professional' pantos I've seen recently.

I know how hard everyone's worked on this and it really shows - full-on performances from everyone, excellent sets (especially the ultraviolet FX), lots of costume changes (essential to keep audience interest - Ammonia's fluorescent leopard print cuffs are my favourite), and just a general sense of joie de vivre. Congratulations, Stuey, Maria, and everyone.”

“I went to a professional one in the evening and thought ours was funnier, slicker and more enjoyable.”

“ thought the whole thing was absolutely fabulous; scenery, costumes, lighting; the whole thing. The Benny Hill type chase with the strobe lighting was hilarious. The set / scenery was absolutely breathtaking with some fantastic touches; erm, what did you do only once Stuart

The costumes were sumptious. The delivery from the cast was wonderful with some great ad libs; typical panto apart from the missing thigh slapping girl

Once again, the production values held it up to be a Stuey show with all those special touches you bring that make the difference between your show and some others I've seen here and elsewhere. I ended the evening hoarse from shouting, cheering, singing and booing and with sore hands from all the clapping.”

“I hate pantos...

but I loved this one!!

Well punchy. Very funny. All the younger ones were really engaged in it and not standing around looking bored with crossed arms. Great dancing, singing, acting and generally fantastic discipline on stage. I've seen many pantos where some of the kids just stand around looking cute. In this, they were as much a part of it as the adults.

I really really can't believe that I watched a panto that I like. I do normally find them very tedious and in the back of my mind is the thought that it's not suprising I don't like them because they are after all aimed at kids but this one was great for all ages.

It had the best baddie!! Don't know your name.. sorry but the little bits of catherine tate, little britain catchphrases mixed in with the evil witch speaking the language of the street init, that was very funny. Nice stoop.

Very funny adlibs from Alan. Nice bit of political satire thrown in presumably at the last moment unless Stuart's privvy to information that the rest of us aren't.

The sorting hat!! that thing looked just like the one on the film! awesome.

Tom and the other guy in the double act were very funny!

The single male dancer thing. That was funny.

Nice cat dance.

A prince charming that looked like he'd come straight out of pride and prejudice! and a beautiful princess.

The UV evil forest.... that place was veryyyy spooky.

The ever-randy royal couple made me laugh a lot too. They somehow reminded me of Christine and Neil Hamilton.

Yes... yes.. very good.

well done A*

Oh.... and Steve Imrie is a comedy genius!

I'm going to go see it again tonight.

  • Slaps himself!*

GOING TO SEE A PANTO TWICE!!! There must be something wrong with me.”

“I had every faith in Stuey and his cohorts pulling off a show to remember with fantastic production values, and I was not wrong.

I agree with most of what has been already said, but I'd like to make a special mention of the superb artwork and set design (bravo Hazel and others) and also the very charismatic, hard-working Swing group. No lessened energy or commitment from these people who didn't land the lead roles! I thought all of their routines were great fun and delivered with just the right energy and zest. And congratulations too for Hans' turn as the very funny male dancer!

Well done everyone involved with this popular success, which I am sure has really boosted our theatre's profile!”

“I absolutely loved this from start to finish. There was something in it for everyone to enjoy and I was so caught up it it that I almost felt like a kid again.

I particularly liked the way Stuey had updated the script to make the whole thing much more current.

The sets were absolutely superb, my favourites were the forest and village sets where I was constantly noticing new and very thoughtful details.

It was really refreshing to see a non-professional production where the acting, singing and dancing from every single cast member was so strong. The hard work everyone put in really paid off.

My favourite moments definitely came between the comedy pairings of Tom and David and Alan and Steve (whose singing, as ever, totally blew me away). I also think that Carabosse was both the scariest and most entertaining panto villian I have seen.

This was the third panto I have seen this year and by far and away the best. In fact to be honest I think it is a strong contender for being the best I've ever seen. Well done everybody!”

“Quite frankly, I think this is the best production that SLT has been put on for a while, and all involved deserve medals.

The special effects were extremely well executed, with the right mixture of professionalism and daftness that is so perfect in this setting.

Some of my favourite moments included Alan B in general ("Have you got a ticket? Then get off me train"); Stuey covering the part of Fussy ("Oh no, is it me?!") and the 'slow-mo' chase scene.

The 'cartoon heroes' song was so appropriate for the play, and the dancing and singing was in general fantastic. I say in general, as there were two songs that I felt had got about half a beat behind and started losing track with the music, which also seemed somewhat loud at times.

Tom Bucher and his opposite number were very cleverly directed and, despite their young age engaged with the audience very well. This is especially a strength that I have noticed in Tom and I expect (on pain of torture, Tom!) to see him go far.

Steve Imrie was perfect as the court jester, as was Alan Buckman as Goodbody, reflecting one of the best casts ever seen. These two characters, especially, were perfect panto.

Finally, the (relatively) small space in Bell provided a wonderfully intimate feel to production, something missing in larger theatres, and this seemed not to be missed on the audience.


Reminiscences and Anecdotes

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