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Silchester Players - The Sleeping Beauty

30th to 31st January and 6th to 7th February 2015.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Never too late for panto

Good costumes, clever lighting and really good acting a recipe for success

Silchester Players: The Sleeping Beauty, at Silchester Village Hall, on Friday, January 30, Saturday, January 31, Friday, February 6, and Saturday, February 7

Pantomime comes late to Silchester; just as most productions are nearing the end of their runs, theirs is just beginning. No problem though, the locals and others pour in to fill the little village hall and it could be early December for a couple of hours as the opening troupe of dancers go through their paces neatly and precisely positioned.

Using Ben Crocker's script for the traditional Sleeping Beauty story, the players worked through a series of typical panto routines, including the usual 'Which way did she go…  this way… that way… what?' Then the 'It's behind you…' and lots of 'Oh no it isn't…' and the obligatory excruciating jokes: 'Mozart worked in two flats - well he couldn't afford a house.'

They even managed a custard pie in the face during the kitchen/cooking sequence.

The big professional shows may have a lot of glitz and glamour and computerised special effects, but this production indicated how much you can achieve with good costumes, clever lighting and some really good acting.

There were bright performances by Robert Whitehead as the king, always a little bemused; Roy Glancey made the most of the Queen Dorothy role and, in another panto type gender reversal, Charley Henkey played Prince Orlando. Oli Williams was a lively and likeable Billy the Butler and Jack of all trades. With minor fairy parts, this show had a majority of female roles and all were embraced and played enthusiastically.

Special bouquets are due to Claire Humphreys for a sustained and impressive performance as the evil Carabosse, although she did have the best part. Her black cat Spindleshanks was played with humour by Jo Simpson and there was an excellent, all-singing, all-dancing and even acting without speaking performance by Isobel Frost as the little white cat, Kitty.

The singing, dance routines and general attention to details were all well put together by producer Sarah Oliver, with smooth choreography from Trevor Dobson and director Keith Graham ensuring a seamless, fast-moving production.