Sleeping Beauty, Basildon Towngate, 2016/17
This is Simon Fielding’s 10th pantomime for the Towngate and it seems that the years of work are paying off. Sleeping Beauty is running for more performances than last year’s Jack and the Beanstalk
and Fielding’s tried and trusted recipe shows no visible signs of waning. The main ingredient being a good script, that’s funny, relevant and integrates familiar routines rather than simply linking them.
Author Brad Fitt takes the love story and places it front and centre as it should be.
The moment where Aimee Barrett’s chirpy Princess Aurora meets Zac Hamilton’s game Prince Philip of Pitsea is pure pantomime magic and a chemistry unfolds between the two that drives the rest of the narrative. Sophie Ladds is arguably pantomime’s most versatile villain and her appearance in the opening scene is played with chilling and appropriate malevolence. Ladds provides the danger and Fielding the comic relief, this year as Jangles the Jester aided and abetted by Daniel Stockton’s rambunctious dame and Mark Faith’s kindly King.
At the forefront of Fielding’s pantomimes however are the children, all locally sourced and bursting with enthusiasm. They deliver their lines with gusto and invest a huge much energy in Aisling Duffy and Fielding’s effervescent dance routines – the stage practically explodes with talent.