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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke


🎭 Sleeping Beauty

📍 The Lyric, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2TR

🗓 Tuesday 20th December 2022



On Tuesday night I attended the Theatre Royal Plymouth for my final theatre trip of the year, and what an incredible end to the year it was.

This years pantomime is Sleeping Beauty and stars screen legend Shane Richie and X Factor winner Matt Terry alongside an incredibly talented cast.

As the show opens we're introduced to the Good Fairy of Plymouth Hoe who is portrayed by Jarnéia Richard-Noel. She has a beautiful singing voice, and when you learn that she has been in musicals such as SIX, you know you're in safe hands.

We then meet the evil Queen Carabosse, who rules over the Kingdom of Jannerland with her brother King Crackerjack. Queen Carabosse is played by Britt Lenting who is a seasoned professional at playing wicked characters. She excels in the role and is just the right amount of evil and the whole audience boo her throughout, including during the curtain call! She also has an astonishing singing voice.

The production essentially follows the standard Sleeping Beauty story that we know and love, but is filled with lots of fun, silliness and laughs throughout.

Shane Richie is Court Jester Muddles and he is a breath of fresh air. Pantomime is pure escapism and Richie is an incredible performer. He really knows how to work an audience and for two hours he entertains and makes you forget the world outside. His energy levels never drop and he is a real joy to watch. He really brings the audience in and interacts with them incredibly. It's almost as if he's portraying a heightened version of himself, and of course there are many references to Eastenders!

His best bits throughout the show are his scenes with Peter Piper as King Crackerjack. The two together actually had me doubled over with laughter. They are so silly together, but that's what I loved most about them. There were some hilarious interactions between them, one of which included a sweet cart and another which involved the Trunk of Truth!

Ceri Dupree is Queen Fabulosa who, as the name suggests, is fabulous! Married to the King, Queen Fabulosa fills the stage with both her fiery personality and her amazing frocks! Each time the Queen enters the stage she has a completely new costume and asks the audience "How do I look?" to which the audience responds "Fabulous"!

When joining with Richie and Piper, Dupree shows off his impeccable comedy timing and the three of them are pure comedy gold. There is a hilarious scene where the three of them are talking in tongue twisters which gets more and more out of hand and when they perform a unique version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, chaos ensues!

Production Images: Britt Lenting as Queen Carabosse; Shane Richie as Muddles; Ceri Dupree as Queen Fabulosa

The Sleeping Beauty herself Princess Aurora is portrayed by Stephanie McKenzie. She is elegant and plays the part well. Her cousin Princess Narcissa is played by Eleanor Walsh. The relationship between the two is believable and plays out wonderfully.

The final character is Matt, The Court Balladeer. Brought to life by Matt Terry, he is in love with Princess Aurora and plans to confess his love on her 21st Birthday. Ultimately it is his kiss that saves the Princess from the curse. Terry has a fantastic singing voice which is well used throughout. We also see another side of him as he is part of some of the comedy sequences, including an hilarious minstrel show with pots, pans and wooden spoons!

The production values of the show are second to none. The sets and costumes are wonderful and there are some real spectacular moments, such as Richie flying over the audience in a helicopter.

There was also a gigantic nightmare inducing werewolf which came almost into the audience and was terrifying! The kids in the audience were screaming, and it was a real memorable moment.

The ensembe of Josh Crowther, Alex Linscer, Catherine Puri, Molly Rees-Howe, Nikki Seymour, Abi Tildesley, Joseph Tobin and Ben Whitnall worked hard and really rounded off the production.

This really is a phenomenal show and I really can't praise it highly enough. Pure family fun which is great for kids, but there's also some jokes for the parents too! I loved the satire throughout too with references to Liz Truss and the infamous Will Smith Oscars slap!

Production Images: The incredible ensemble; Stephanie McKenzie as Princess Aurora; The finale

Sleeping Beauty is playing in The Lyric auditorium at Theatre Royal Plymouth until Saturday 14th January 2023. Head to to book. There are limited tickets available for all performances so be quick to avoid disappointment.

Neill Kovacic-Clarke

All views are my own and I pride myself on being open and honest.

My tickets for this performance were gifted by Theatre Royal Plymouth who invited me to the Press Night to review the production.


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