Sleeping Beauty, A theatre group’s awakening!

By Nigel Watson

All about that bass Sleeping Beauty. Credit Josh Miles

All about that bass Sleeping Beauty. Credit Josh Miles

Christmas is coming, and to get you into the spirit you must see the first ever Panto produced by Plymouth University’s Musical Theatre Group (MTG). It’s in the Main Hall of the Davy Building at Plymouth University. !

The live band directed by Thomas Dunn opens the show, and we are introduced to the familiar story. Princess Beauty (Amy Rossiter) is going to celebrate her 21st birthday on the following day and the evil witch Carabosse (Kathryn Djemai) plots to ruin her day. Only the Enchantress (Katy Woodward) can use her limited good magic to save her, aided by the appropriately named Muddles (Jake Greene) and his Mum, Nurse Nelly (Timothy McNeil).

The cast is excellent. The befuddled Muddles brings a decent sprinkling of bad jokes to the show and helps egg on the audience interaction, whilst Nurse Nelly brilliantly performs ‘Man I Feel Like a Woman’ (need I say more?) and is outstanding in all his scenes. Carabosse gives an equally outstanding performance and is eloquently evil whilst ably supported in her evil mission by hench-people; the stupid Maybot (Charlotte Hammond) and Bojo (Ricky Morgan).

Prince William (Sam Spears) is a delightfully posh royal bowing to all stereotypes. He exclaims with a ‘ding dong’ on first seeing Princess Beauty, worthy of Carry On’s Leslie Phillips. The Royal Court features Queen Wanda (Sarah Engle), Queen Ophelia (Jemma Smith) and the Lord Chamberlain (George Back). The whole cast perform a plethora of engaging musical numbers, backed by an ensemble of dancers choreographed by Jessica Emmett.

Sleeping Beauty. Credit Josh Miles

Sleeping Beauty. Credit Josh Miles

Sleeping Beauty. Credit Josh Miles

Sleeping Beauty. Credit Josh Miles

It is amazing how much is packed onto this small stage. The set designed by Andy Martin is colourful and effective in providing a suitably magical backdrop for the Forest and the Royal Palace settings, and it is funny to see the actors cope with swishing across some of the scenery like washing on a clothes line. At one moment a sheet-covered ghost, did bump into the scenery, but considering it was a first night there were very few glitches. The main issue was some of the performer’s microphones could have been turned up enough to be equal with the volume of the band.

Written and directed by Sam Pomeroy, this is a joyful, music-filled show that has everything you could want from a panto… oh yes it has!
Running from 29 November to 02 December 2017. Evening shows start at 19:30, More details and tickets here

(all imagery associated is the property of Plymouth University’s Musical Theatre Group)

Credit to MTG Plymouth University