Sleeping Beauty | Media
Following last year's 'spectacular and exquisite panto' (Surrey Advertiser), Theatre Royal Windsor, renowned for its traditional pantomimes, is proud to present Sleeping Beauty - a magical musical treat for all the family and the perfect way to start the festive season.
We are thrilled to announce that international superstar Britt Ekland and 70's pop legend Tony Christie are to star in this year's Sleeping Beauty. Britt, best known for her roles as a Bond girl in The Man with the Golden Gun, and in the British cult film The Wicker Man, is sure to add glamour to the role of Wicked Fairy. Legendary singer/songwriter Tony, whose 1970s chart topper "Amarillo" is internationally acclaimed, will be playing the role of the King. Joining them will be last year's panto sensation and Britain's Got Talent's Kevin Cruise, who is returning to the stage as Muddles, Windsor favourite Steven Blakeley, who will be playing Nurse Norah and singing sensation Bradley Clarkson (Dreamboats and Petticoats, ITV's Grease is the Word) as the Prince. For the first time ever NODDY will be driving his taxi all the way from Toyland to join our fabulous cast.
Wednesday 14 December 2011 by Nick Smurthwaite
While Sleeping Beauty may not be the most riveting of panto narratives, it can afford a resourceful director opportunities for boundless creative intervention. In Julius Green’s production for Windsor’s Theatre Royal not a trick is missed.
As well as all the usual suspects - beautiful princess, handsome prince, wicked witch etc - we have ballet, a Beyonce spoof, a Chihuahua called Rasputin, a cuddly dragon with the voice of Christopher Biggins, a pair of goblins, a troupe of elfs, and a fleeting, not to say random, appearance by Noddy. I half expected Bob the Builder and the Teletubbies to fetch up after the interval.
If it sounds like overkill it doesn’t appear so thanks to the rollicking pace Green has set his talented cast. This is best illustrated by the front-of-curtain Twelve Days of Christmas sketch in which Nurse Norah (Steven Blakeley), Muddles (Kevin Cruise) and friends bust a gut giving a hilarious 21st century twist on the traditional lyric.
True to the genre, the audience was mostly made up of enthusiastic family groups with a smattering of older parties, including a group of excitable sixth-formers who put on a show of their own when the Prince (the excellent Bradley Clarkson) launched into I’m a Believer, the Monkees’ anthem that’s been reinvented for a new generation by Shrek.
Not surprisingly, with Tony Christie cast as Beauty’s royal dad, there was also a rapturous reception for his greatest hit, Amarillo, which turns into an exhilarating audience sing-along. In short, a great time was had by all.
BUCKS FREE PRESS
19th December 2011
SLEEPING Beauty is crammed with so many stars that this pantomime can’t fail to sparkle. The show, at the Theatre Royal Windsor, comes alive with talent and features movie legend Brit Ekland, singers Anita Harris and Tony Christie, and Dancing on Ice’s Chloe Madeley. But that’s not all (oh not it isn’t) as Heartbeat’s Steven Blakeley, Britain’s Got Talent’s Kevin Cruise, Grease Is the Word’s Bradley Clarkson, and erm, Noddy take centre stage too. Even The Dragon’s voice is played by panto veteran Christopher Biggins.
Such a talented cast ensures a fast-paced storyline, crammed full of jokes, double entendre and wacky antics. Cruise, as camp Muddles, and Blakeley, as Nurse Norah, bring all the slapstick humour and light relief. However it’s Clarkson who expertly plays the charming and vain Prince - who loves himself more than his princess - who takes the prize.
Ekland brings the Wicked Fairy to life with loud cackles and an evil demeanour, but she’s still obviously glam despite the costume make-up. Madeley makes an interesting choice as Beauty, who looks the part, but it is often difficult to hear her lines. It feels a little unfair for her to be cast alongside such seasoned and talented actors who effortlessly command the stage. The highlight comes before the end when Christie, cast as The King, launches into hit ‘Is This the Way to Amarillo’, delighting the crowd.
The venue ensures this panto truly comes to life as the quirky building, which opened more than 100 years ago, gives an old fashioned Christmas experience. It may not be as slick as other pantomimes at times, but the theatre’s magic and cast’s star appeal really make this production shine.
THE MAIDENHEAD ADVERTISER
15th December 2011
The wonderful panto Sleeping Beauty is delighting audiences at Windsor Theatre Royal. Advertiser reporters Sophie Flowers, Amanda Hall, Laura Enfield and Nicola Hine went to join the fun.If you love good old pantomime fun then you'll love Sleeping Beauty, writes Sophie Flowers.Movie legend Britt Ekland is fabulous as the wicked fairy who places a curse on the pretty princess on her 16th birthday.Duo Tony Christie and Anita Harris are perfect as the doting King and Queen determined to protect their darling daughter by removing all spinning wheels from the kingdom. The long-running 'Amarillo' joke, prompting Christie to threaten to burst into song more than once, is great fun and makes it all the more satisfying when he finally sings his popular hit.
There are aspects for all ages, from the wonderfully camp Kevin Cruise as sidekick Muddles, who does a great performance to Beyonce's Single Ladies, to kids' favourite Noddy who helps save the day. Prince Percy, the hero of the tale in dashing tights and a foppish hat, stole the show with a rousing performance of Take That's A Million Love Songs, which had the oldies in the audience - those over 25 - singing and swaying along as he belted out the tune without a hint of self-consciousness.
The supporting cast of singers and dancers are excellent, and the young performers are delightful with their infectious enthusiasm. We laughed, we sang, we shouted 'it's behind you' and the audience even got to join in with throwing snowballs at the firey dragon, voiced by Christopher Biggins. Sweets were thrown into the audience and little ones were invited on stage, as shameless asides and puns kept the adults entertained.
Chloe Madeley as Beauty stood out as a 'celebrity' guest but her weak voice was made up for by her princess-like looks and expert roller skating, imitating her Dancing on Ice success. But my favourite character was Nurse Norah, played by excellent panto dame Steven Blakeley. She helped the audience follow the story and kept us entertained along the way, especially with a manic all-action performance of The Twelve Days of Christmas.
For panto fun and action, and Tony Christie singing 'Is This is the Way to Amarillo?', you won't have a better night out.