Theatre Review: Sleeping Beauty at Nottingham Arts Theatre

Words: Sharon Stevens
Monday 18 December 2023
reading time: min, words

Sharon Stevens reviews Sleeping Beauty at Nottingham Arts Theatre...

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We had the opportunity to visit Nottingham Arts Theatre to see the pantomime Sleeping Beauty. It was the first time my granddaughters had been to see a pantomime, and so I found myself explaining certain aspects. It didn’t take them long before they were booing, clapping, shouting answers to questions asked of the audience and joining in with calling for Stitch.

My granddaughters found it funny when the Queen misheard what the King said, which happened a lot. Her confusion would lead to her talking or singing about something completely different.

The story involved, as expected, a main baddie and main goody. Nightshade was the baddie, and Stitch was the goodie.

In the first half, we meet the grandparents of Aurora, the King and Queen, and find out the background of why they are bringing her up. At her christening, flower fairies gave the baby gifts that would improve her life and protect her from the wrath of Nightshade.

The show moves from the christening of Aurora the baby to her eighteenth celebration, ending with Aurora asleep after pricking her finger on a spinning wheel. This was despite everything the King and Queen had put in place to protect her from seeing or hearing about a spinning wheel. They were no match for Nightshade’s cunning sidekicks, Thorn and Thistle.

The message in the pantomime was about acceptance and belonging

During the second half, we saw more audience participation. You might recognise well-known songs and music like Bob the Builder, Peppa Pig, Everybody Needs Somebody to Love and Material World.

Nanny’s costume change reminded me of a concert I attended a few years ago. However, her costume changes didn’t leave me feeling empty when the show ended, having missed her appearance on stage. In fact, it made me wonder what she would wear next. Her costumes were very bright and colourful with unusual contours. When she came on stage with a new outfit, I pondered what the next would be like. She made me smile.

The message in the pantomime was about acceptance and belonging, which is excellent. It was a good show, with lots of positive elements.

There were inuendoes that children in the audience would not have understood. There were many name drops for companies, such as B&Q and Checkatrade, which was mentioned several times, which had me wondering if they’d sponsored the pantomime. It felt on par with product placement, often used in the film and television industry.

My granddaughters and I had a good time. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon. However, I would have liked to have seen a more ethnically diverse cast. In saying that, I encourage you to see the show for yourself.

Sleeping Beauty played at the Nottingham Arts Theatre from 2 December to 17 December 2023

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