Sleeping Beauty (Elizabeth Carter) takes a nap on her way to the castle – all photos © The Eye Snapper
Icy winds, heaving shops, busy traffic – it must be Christmas time in Norwich! Today is a special day that we have all been waiting for, it is Panto Day at the Theatre Royal as the delightful Sleeping Beauty takes to the stage tonight.
Norwich Eye was given a sneaky preview of what to expect as the show was given a few final tweaks at the dress rehearsal. You can expect a spectacular show with lots of singing and dancing and some breathtaking theatre magic. The theatre has assembled a happy and accomplished cast
with Richard Gauntlett once again playing the dame, as well as writing the show. As in last year’s hit show he forms a comedy duo with the athletic Ben Langley so expect a bit of first class slapstick action.
EastEnders actor Gillian Wright sets aside her TV character Jean Slater to relish playing the panto baddie Vipera, helped out by the cutest little set of naughty bugs that you might find in any haunted castle. She is joined by the urbane and delightful Derek Griffiths who is a firm children’s favourite from TV classics Play School and Play Away and has more recently been seen as mechanic Freddie Smith in Coronation Street. Derek told me that he is looking forward to working in Norfolk and hoping to have some time off to enjoy photographing the Norfolk coast. Derek plays the butler Chortwood to Lord Teddy Norbridge (Stephen Godward) and his lovestruck son Timothy (Glenn Adamson) who has fallen head over heels in love with Patience, our Sleeping Beauty. Elizabeth Carter, who so captivated the Norwich audience with her performance in Dreamboats and Petticoats is Sleeping Beauty.
There are many adventures along the way as the heroes try to keep Patience out of the clutches of the wicked enchantress Viperia, including an up-to date version of a classic monastery rope bell routine and some very scary skeletons dancing in the dark. There is even a bit of time travel thrown in thanks to an accommodating Tardis, and plenty of singalong musical hits to enjoy.
Regular panto favourite Greta makes a surprise reappearance chasing the hapless Muddles Midges (Ben Langley) around the stage. This Greta is bound to be trouble, it was made in Ipswich!
Chatting to the cast in a rehearsal break I discovered a happy cast who work well together and can’t wait to show off their talents in this joyful version of a classic pantomime. This is a busy show with so much happening on stage that you might have to go two or three times to make sure you enjoy every detail.
Sleeping Beauty, Wednesday 13 December 2017-Sunday 14 January 2018. Tickets £7-£24.50. Under-threes free. Discounts for Friends, Over-60s, Under-18s and Groups. Signed performance on Saturday 13 Jan at 2.30pm. Audio-described performances on Wednesday 3 Jan and Saturday 6 Jan at 2.30pm. Captioned performance on Sunday 7 Jan at 1pm. Relaxed performance on Friday 5 Jan at 5.30pm which is bookable in person or by phone on 01603 630000.
To book, log onto www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000.