Every Christmas show needs a great villain that the children love to hate – and Tom Read Wilson provides just that in Sleeping Beauty at The Castle theatre in Wellingborough.
Read Wilson evokes memories of The Rocky Horror Show in his excellent portrayal of Fireina in this fine new musical version of the classic children’s tale by Paul Boyd and Russell Morton.
The cast of seven, most of who play more than one part, keep the energy levels high throughout the show which draws on the original story for its main plot but throws in some fun new characters and some great original songs, many of which are high temnpo disco numbers, complete with glitterball.
Paul Hutton’s Old Inn Keeper at the start of the second act is one of the other highlights of a show which sees all of the magnificient seven excel.
There are deliberately bad jokes, some saucy jokes for the mums and dads, excellent costumes and some great song and dance numbers.
Hero of the hour Stuart Turner and Matt Nalton both nail their parts, with Nalton’s Prince Lee and Disco Tech showing his versatility.
Sarah Whitlock’s Queen is a good old-fashioned panto battleaxe and Laura Wickham is suitably vulnerable and innocent as Rosie, the sleeeping beauty.
Annabel King’s bright and bubbly good fairy Isis is the perfect antidote to Read Wilson’s evil Fireina, who is undoubtedly the star of the show.
Panto villains come in all shapes and sizes, and Read Wilson’s Fireina is up there with the best.
From the moment the character arrives on stage the performer’s personality, great costume, energetic performance and fantastic devil-like horn hairstyle make Fireinaa force to be reckoned with.
Taken as a whole, this is a great ensemble show with excellent performances offering comedy, song and dance in equal measure.
As with last year’s Peter Pan, The Castle is offering audiences something slightly different to the normal pantomime, which is no bad thing.
The cast, crew and writers have put together a great show which will entertain young and old. Get along and see it if you get the chance.
Sleeping Beauty is staged at The Castle, Wellingborough, until December 29. Tickets are priced £14 for adults, £12 for concessions. Famil tickets for two adults and two children are £48.
Tickets can be bought by calling the box office on 01933 270 007 or online at www.thecastle.org.uk