Dazzling spectacle of theatre’s 3D panto

Sleeping Beauty, Linda Lusardi and Sam Kane
Sleeping Beauty, Linda Lusardi and Sam Kane

It’s not often that panto audiences emit the kind of blood-curdling screams that would rival a cinema horror film showing, but listening to the crowd at the Royal & Derngate’s Sleeping Beauty, the sounds of the two could easily be mistaken.

It’s not that the panto is particularly scary, but it is startling in its use of 3D effects. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the promise of 3D technology in a theatrical panto performance, but I was left truly impressed.

At moments in the show, audiences were asked to don 3D glasses and watch as the actors scrabbled around in an impressive projected backdrop while creatures from an enchanted forest darted out at the audience.

I watched as a giant ogre swept his giant paw right past my face and, in a different section, a ghost floated in front of my nose and disappeared, leaving a ‘party bomb’ behind.

Far from taking away from the traditional splendour of panto, the effects were probably the best I have seen anywhere in 3D and definitely worth a look.

The actors coped extraordinarily well with these scenes as well as the telling of the well-known story of Sleeping Beauty. Given actress Linda Lusardi’s sunny, glamorous image off-stage I was impressed by her portrayal of the genuinely annoying and horrible villain, Carabosse, who curses poor Sleeping Beauty to prick her finger and fall asleep for 100 years. Her husband Sam Kane, who played the foolish Oddjob, also showed some fantastic comedic flair, particularly in scenes with Andy Jones as Muddles. The show will run until January 5.