Back to reviews
In my view, Venue 360 has proved to be a superb new performance space for Griffins.
A huge undertaking – but very worthwhile. The conference centre was re-
Technically it was also a triumph with excellent lighting designed by Dave Houghton
(who also oversaw the transformation), mostly good sound from Graham Elliott, Duncan
Askew and their team – plus a well-
Richard Lovelock always writes a good panto – traditional, but with lots of fun and audience participation – which is what it’s all about, and the cast gave it their all.
Costumes were excellent throughout – they were colourful and looked fresh and exciting. I particularly liked the junior chorus red dresses, the green and silver adult chorus dresses, the blue dresses for the Simple Simon number, along with Nanny’s gold fringed number and her finale costume. Very well chosen.
A lively opening set the scene – and I liked the contrasts between the characters such as the King and Lord Rupert, although each principal had really given thought to their character, and this gave the production the contrasts and dimensions that I always love to see. Good directorial decisions made this both traditional but interesting and great fun.
There were some super lighting effects – particularly in the hero number, also the
use of back spots on a dappled background for the princess when she sang, and the
Musically very sound, although there were some numbers that were a little too long . I particularly liked the Fairies song – tight harmonies and the syncopated section was also very good.
The junior chorus (Team Ariel on the night I attended) were very well-
The adult chorus all performed very well, and looked as if they were enjoying themselves – which always helps an audience enjoy it more too.
I liked the three fairies, Cheryl Evans, Deborah Cheshire and Hannah Synan-
Lorna McCarthy as Ghasthag the baddie – as always gave us someone we loved to boo – very strong and evil, a good performance.
I liked the pairing of Paul Rogers and Hannah Meller as the king and queen, a good relationship, with lots of innuendo and fun.
Kirsty Day was a charming Princess, good vocally and well-
I thought Steve Peters created a very foppish Lord Rupert – who was a good foil to the other comedy characters.
Matt Collins was a lively and engaging Simple Simon – he got the audience going and I liked his portrayal.
Richard Lovelock as Nanny was a traditional Dame, but loads of energy and again innuendo made her a very interesting and dynamic character.
These three created a good comedy trio, and the slapstick scene worked really well – along with all the other exchanges between the three.
So, all in all a super, fun-
“SLEEPING BEAUTY” review date: 14th Jan 2015
Venue 360, LUTON
Director: Dee Lovelock assisted by Luke Murphy
MD: Charlotte Tabert
Choreographer: Jackie Houghton assisted by Kerry Collins