Wicked fairy tale

2008-10-28 00:00

Theatre review:

Sleeping Beauty: Adult Panto

Hexagon Theatre

THE annual adult panto — Sleeping Beauty this time around — is completely critic-proof. It has its own audience who want something familiar, unchallenging and unsubtle. Deviations from the norm are not required.

All the above attributes are in place with this show, along with men in drag, both gross and suave, well-known songs with a tweak here and there, bawdy one-liners and at least a nodding acquaintance with the plot of the fairy tale on which it all hangs. There are double entendres galore, though most are so obvious as to cancel out any sense of a double meaning.

Anthony Stonier wrote the script, directs and plays the wicked fairy with a liking for the bottle, Miss Begotten. He belts out all his songs in fine style, and along with Peter Court as Bladder, the court jester, generally controls proceedings — if control is not too strong a word.

In the Hexagon, the performers used hand-held mikes. Apparently they will be doing this in Durban for their longer run where the Boho venue has a tin roof, and, when it rains, the actors will need help. On the first night of the short Pietermaritzburg run, the sound was very harsh, and, at least to begin with, far too loud. Presumably this will be sorted out, but having a mike in your hand inevitably inhibits the action.

There are two newcomers in the cast — the velvet-voiced Junaid Cassimjee as the handsome prince, and Justine Aboud as Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose. Both held their own well with seasoned campaigners Stonier, Court, Rowan Bartlett and Sean de Klerk.

The edges of the show are distinctly rough and it’s all very predictable and repetitious, but the performers are so obviously having a good time — as was the first-night audience — that it would be churlish to carp. In the inevitable finale of If I were not upon the stage I did find myself fantasising about if I were not among the audience what else I might be doing, but this festive season warhorse looks set to gallop on happily with its raunchy, in your face offering.

Margaret von Klemperer

• Sleeping Beauty runs at the Boho (next to Bean Bag Bohemia) in supper theatre

format from October 29 to December 31. There is the option of a non-dining ticket. Meal at 6.30 pm, show at 8 pm. Sundays: lunch followed by matinee. Discounts on Tuesdays and Sundays. Book at Computicket. Block bookings: Ailsa at 083 250 2690. First week tickets less 25%.

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