Sleeping Beauty – A Knight Avengers Tale is family Entertainment Plus.
When you leave the theatre with a great big grin on your face, and all you see are very happy people, you know that you have experienced something special and wonderful. Sleeping Beauty – A Knight Avengers Tale provides such an experience.
As a panto, it contains all the right elements: the wonderful interaction between the cast and audience, the light-hearted and engaging exchanges between the cast only adds to the fun that everyone is enjoying. The typical interactions are still very funny, even if as an adult you have heard them before, or if not, and for you, it’s the first time, then it’s simply brilliant.
This production is also up to date with local references along with the occasional “over the head” remarks, plus some more subtle references within one or two costume changes. As a production, it ticks all the right boxes, which is not surprising considering the world-class talent and experience that has been involved in this fantastic performance.
Every element has been considered with the same level of integrity and quality. All the sets and most of the costumes have come from the UK which is the home of panto’s, The sets are exquisite and the costumes are all stunning. The special effects and lighting is a wonder to watch, not only in their execution but also in the way it’s all done, it left me asking, “How did they do that?”.
The main characters are played by experienced performers: Rhonda Burchmore (Carabosse) brings out the best boo’s from the audience and rocks the house with a couple of show-stopping numbers. Carabosses height and costume provide a formative figure and stage presence to intimidate all, as the evil fairy.
Kev Orkin (Silly Billy) is one of the UK’s finest entertainers winning many international awards as a comedy pianist, is simply brilliant as Billy, he is infectious, with a natural comedic timing which becomes the glue that keeps this well-oiled performance going. Orkin’s timing and ability to adlib will make you believe that whatever happens on stage, is all part of the show when at times you are just that little bit unsure, which is all part of the fun of pantomime especially when it’s performed at such a high standard.
Frazer Hines (King Louis) is rumoured to hold the second most consecutive pantomime appearances. Hines is a natural in portraying King Louis, who provides the sounding board for some of the most comical aspects of the show, particularly with the tongue-twisting screen along with Silly Billy and Nanny Tickle.
Melissa Tkautz (The Good Fairy) continues to expand her multi-talents. The good fairy provides important narration along with a fantastic opening number which should not be missed. The entrances of the good fairy from time to time provided a wonderful flow to the show, with no pauses between the scenes which enhances the pace and anticipation of whats to come. Tkautz provides great diction and tones which suits the character well.
Katrina Retallick’s performance skills are once again shining in the role of Nanny Tickle. Working beside Silly Billy, the pair of them provide a sense of longtime friends, who have been on a fairy-tale adventure or two looking after the young princess. The interaction is between them is seamless.
Matt Geronimi (Chambers) is truly a versatile Artist who is trained in all aspects of the Performing Arts. Geronimis dancing skills shine as Chambers who provides dance stability to the magnificent ensemble of five senior and twelve juvenile dances, all of them extremely talented. His talents are also displayed within some extremely funny snippets in the show.
Embla Bishop (Sleeping Beauty) presents a delightful sleeping beauty who is keen to have her birthday and to meet a handsome prince. Bishop portrays a modern princess within a fairy-tale, intelligent, while still being protected, her solo performance received a thunderers applause which is well deserved. The interaction with the audience is good, the audiences responded well and absolutely loved her.
Daniel Milne (Prince Valiant) is a tall strapping, handsome, all caring, fearless Prince who falls in love with the Princess at first sight. Just the right stuff for fairytales. Milne ticks all the boxes as Prince Valiant. As the caring Prince, his stage presence is felt from his first entrance.
My hat goes off to the creative team, that has produced such a wonderful wonderful fun-filled family-friendly show: Bonnie Lythgoe – Executive Producer / Director and Christopher Wood – Writer, Creative Designer and Executive Produce,r and David Gillett – Executive Producer – Australia.
Sleeping Beauty – A Knight Avenger’s Tale
Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre from 29 June to 8 July
Sydney’s majestic State Theatre from 13 to 22 July for a strictly limited season.