ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

SLEEPING BEAUTY Directed by Neil Tranmer & Angela Foulds Burnley Pantomime Society When I arrived at the Mechanics Theatre in Burnley. the atmosphere was already electric. You could tell the audience was ready for an enjoyable, rowdy evening and they were not disappointed: Sleeping Beauty was an all-round triumph. The show started with a bang (literally). A well-timed pyrotechnic flash, and Laura Kay’s Fairy Peaceful opened the show with style and confidence. Laura was lovely in the role melding poise with a superb singing voice. The opening number was slick, and with a special mention of the sound team, I could hear every word of dialogue spoken and sung throughout. Never too loud or too quiet. The scenery was superb, vibrant, and colourful; scene changes were over in the blink of an eye, the pace never lagged once. Billy was played by Michael Wright. Rumour has it this was Michaels first time either on stage or in pantomime. I would never has guessed: he was a natural on stage, the children adored him and his energy throughout was a sight to behold. Whether walking through the audience banging a drum, or squirting them with a water pistol, he was totally in command of what he was doing, easily going along with the ad-libs and stumbles that we want to see in a pantomime. I hope he returns to the stage. Support was provided by Gary Leonard, as King Norbert. No stranger to the stage, whether in drama or pantomime, Gary is always a welcome addition to a company with strong vocals and characterization, he was a very pompous King. No pantomime is complete without a Dame. Queen Dorothy was played with aplomb by Kevin Kay. Kevin lit up the stage as soon as he was brought on. The audience members were in the palm of his hand. His rendition of Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie had the audience in stitches (and he sang it well) If I had to pick a highlight of the night in a show full of them, Dame Dotty on her own, on the stage, with just a prop piano, was comedy gold. Kitty, the palace cat, was brought to life in suitable feline fashion by Rachel Kay. Well done in a none speaking role, relying only on movement to convey the character. Her opposite number, Spindleshanks was played the ever-versatile Becky Wright, a fine actress and singer. It’s always a joy to see Becky in a different role every year. A decent pantomime must have a decent villain. Kayleigh Hindle was a very convincing villain. She was divine as Carabosse, confident with her dialogue and her singing, whilst drawing lots of boos from the audience. “This is Me” opened the second half, sung by Kayleigh and Becky was another highlight. Amy Foulds and Leighton Hunt were Princess Aurora and Prince Orlando. Both were charming and likeable. Whilst Leighton was a little dashing Prince, Amy was so composed, a perfect Princess.