Sleeping Beauty

Riverfront Theatre, Newport

THE curtain went up on this year's pantomime offering at Newport's Riverfront Theatre and families are in for a treat.

Set within the grand surroundings of Newport Abbey, the production puts a comic spin on this classic fairytale of a princess who sleeps for 100 years under a spell that can only be broken by her true love.

And it is a production packed with plenty of laughs, great song, uplifting dance routines, boos, hisses and 'he's behind you' moments.

The opening medley of songs from 80s band Madness got the audience singing from the start and this was quickly followed by a Charleston sequence to introduce you to high quality singing and dancing talent on stage.

The panto is set in 1918 where cursed princess Patience Midges is in hiding as a chamber maid until her 18th birthday.

Actress Alice-Rose Fletcher played the role of Patience to Disney perfection, with each solo note perfect and even inspiring a spontaneous sing-a-long to Greatest Showman's A Million Dreams.

Actor Liam Tobin lit up the stage again as panto dame Mrs Midges, with an array of gaudy frocks and hilarious one-liners. Tobin is great fun as the smart-mouthed dame, building a rapport with the audience and even put some rowdy audience members in their place.

And the focus was firmly on Newport with mention of the M4, Friars Walk - and even the Argus made an appearance.

It was great to see Richard Elis, as the loveable Muddles, back on our city stage and he had everyone on their feet for the big sing-a-long. Lowri-Ann Richards dazzled as the evil witch.

But mention should be made of the top quality dancing in this production with a skeleton sequence to Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars brilliantly choreographed and a treat to watch, as was the jive sequence by the ensemble.

The panto has a fast pace with no lulls and children of all ages will love it. If you get the chance to see it do go along.

Sleeping Beauty will run until Sunday, January 6.