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Corn Exchange - Sleeping Beauty

3rd December 2002 to 4th January 2003.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Wakey wakey! It's panto-time

'SLEEPING BEAUTY', at The Corn Exchange, until January 4

Do the words "He's behind you" strike fear into your heart? Then brace yourself, because panto's well and truly back in town. Armed with flashing swords and waving big foam fists - oh, yes, we'd been here before - with six-year-old George, nine-year-olds Charles and Tom, and Grandma, we settled into our seats at The Corn Exchange for Opera della Luna's 'Sleeping Beauty'. But not for long; we were soon leaping up to heckle with the best of them.

This was traditional family entertainment with the magic shared by young and old alike, their enthusiasm compensating for what was lacking in numbers in the first week of the month-long run. And who couldn't help but join in the fun when familiar faces from last year - Dame Patrick Clancy (Bridget McFidget) and Tom 'Wotcha Wally!' Moss returned to stir things up in the kitchen?

With lavish scenery, simple props and more than a little ad-libbing amid laughter from both cast and audience, the story cracked on apace, assisted by some well-timed acrobatic baby-tossing (not to be tried at home) and custard pie fights.

We hissed and booed bad fairy Carabosse, wickedly portrayed by the splendid Adele Anderson, whose fit of pique at not receiving the christening invitation caused all the aggro. She came and went in a flash. Thumbs down.

We rocked 'n' rolled with Prince Florizel, the wannabe Elvis who was more of a Basil, king of the mobile phone. Thumbs up.

We eagerly fought to catch the sweeties thrown out to the crowd. More thumbs up.

The King and Queen were harmless ninnies and Princess Aurora perfectly demure as we fast-forwarded through events leading up to the big sleep and awakening with the Prince's kiss. Well, OK... thumbs up again.

Anyone planning a trip to The Corn Exchange will be in for a treat - those of you with no plans - well, you will certainly miss out!

Just one question remains. Was Grandma more amused by the participation of her young grandchildren or embarrassed by grown-up children? Oh well, panto only comes round once a year.