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A fun evening, although I thought this was probably more a Christmas play with music rather than an out and out pantomime.

Technically very good – some super lighting effects from Paul Horsler and his team, particularly during Leonora’s spell scene, and at the end the final tableau of the Prince and Leonora, with some other imaginative effects along the way.

The set was well designed, I loved the doors in the side panels, it kept the flow of cast well on and off stage, without them having to push aside curtains etc,  and the actual full stage set was beautiful.  Good attention to detail.

Sound was very well-managed throughout by Josh Halsey and Lui Faulkner, the sound effects of the motorbike, and the storm (again combined with good lighting) gave us lots of added interest.

I thought the costumes were very good, colourful and suitable for each character.  It was also nice to see the younger TADS members helping to run front of house, they were very welcoming.

The four fairies were very good, they brought a very down to earth feel with some amusing moments, but the highlight for me was the Oh So Quiet number, which allowed Janet Bray full rein to her earthy voice, great fun  and well done.  Nice to see Harmony Nanton as Pansy, the fairies newest recruit, she has good projection and a very lively face –I hope she continues to progress her performance skills, as she has lots of promise.

Newcomer Anni Bacon as Fairy Rose created a nice character, she sometimes spoke a little too quickly, but there was lots of expression there.  Emily Venn acted the slightly off the wall fairy Nasturtia well, lots of nice touches, a good foil to Janet Bray as the rather posh Fairy Petunia, who knew it all.  Good contrasts and some funny moments.

Leanne Lyndsey White created three very different characters, and sang extremely well.  I loved the Lady of the Court number, it suited her voice and the dance was good.  I liked the inept palace guard played by Judy Palmer adding a bit of comedy to the number, and I also liked Leanne, Judy and Janet Bray as the guards, their number was extremely well done, with a bit of harmony and very funny.

David Sachon as the King created the grumpy persona well, and he was matched by Michelle Chamberlain as the Queen, good contrasting characters who interacted well.

Jake Dudley was a full-on Nursey, liked a lot of what he did, but for me I could have done with a bit more oomph!  Rachael Garside as Simon also gave us the essence of the rather simple man of all work for the King – some nice touches.

I liked Alkesh Lalji as Croissant the chef – lots of very telling asides, and he managed to keep all his lib interesting and well-projected, despite the French accent – so we didn’t miss any words.

Rachel Price was a suitably evil Deathcap, servant to the equally vile Poison Ivy, played by Molly Harper, a good duo, who we were happy to boo!!  Excellent make up, particularly for Rachel’s character, and I liked the dentist number, this lady can create evil in a very comedic fashion!

Sophie Venn was a very sweet Princess Leonora, she looked and acted the part well, and I really liked the relationship between her and Leanne as Prince Ferdinand.  Leanne got a good portrayal of the Prince, and the sword fight between her and Deathcap was very well-managed.

Charlotte Duffy as Violet and Lotte Ridley as the guard completed the line up and helped create the feel of the Court.

For me, the slapstick scene was a little too demure – no-one got really covered in anything, there was plenty of opportunity to really let go, but those opportunities were missed which would have lifted things a lot.

So, all in all a good production, technically excellent, some missed opportunities for humour, but nonetheless a very enjoyable evening, and always good to catch up with our like-minded amateur theatre colleagues.  Very well done to everyone involved.

TADS Theatre Group

“SLEEPING BEAUTY” TADS Theatre, Toddington

review date 13th December 2013

Director: David Sachon

Choreographers: Sue Sachon & Leanne Lyndsey White


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