Association of Community Theatre


Urmston Musical Theatre

Director: Ian Darke

Musical Director Neil Ravenscroft

Choreography: Lorraine Callen


This for me was a most enjoyable evening out to Pantoland. Sleeping Beauty is an all-time Classic traditional tale which didn't disappoint the eagerly awaiting capacity audience.


Even before the curtains opened all eyes were drawn to the side of the stage into the dark glistening cavern of the wicked fairy Grimhilde (played by Helen Halfpenny).  She gave a great convincing cackling performance throughout, which was eagerly backed up by all the booing and hissing from the audience each time she appeared.


On a much lighter note the trainee fairy, Dotty (Michelle Speakman, looked every inch of a 'dotty' fairy, was an excellent bubbly contrast to Grimhilde, and together with her bright colourful friend, Arfur Story (Ben Thomas), the court jester, they worked well together, bringing out the comedy, and showed great enthusiasm for their roles.


One of the many highlights for me was the chorus musical number 'Thank Heaven for Little Girls' with the clever use of three identically dressed Princess Auroras.  Each one, mingling in turn with the chorus then seamlessly growing up and transforming into an older Princess, until the true Princess Aurora (Isabelle Mead) was before us.  It was a delightful touch, to show her growing up amongst friends within the safety of the palace walls.


King Allard (Harry Frangleton) and Queen Calandra (Sally Mead) complemented each other perfectly and looking every inch a regal couple.  A very nice twist here is that their daughter, Princess Aurora, is actually the real daughter of the Queen. This was clear to see as they held the same regal poise and looked so alike.


Prince Alexander (Alexandra Severn) was a bright lively character who delighted the audience with her enthusiastic, traditional thigh-slapping and lovely singing voice.  Speaking of voices, a special mention must go to the Town Crier (Daniel Mellor) whose precise, clear diction would have carried to the back of the auditorium without the aid of a microphone. He was the perfect choice for this role.


I have to mention the rest of the cast who all played their roles well, with a special mention for the good fairies who kept their humour going throughout.  The brightly costumed chorus was all enthusiastic and looked all chorus members looked as though they were enjoying themselves.


The audience participation scenes were a real treat for the children, and adults! The Bear (John Walker) scene had them all screaming from their seats the good old traditional 'he's behind you' style. They really raised the roof with screaming and laughing at the antics of the Bear, Dotty and Arfur Story.


No pantomime would be complete without the good old sing-along, and this didn't disappoint the audience.  Everyone had a great time trying to sing the words of ‘Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo’.


The production team, headed by Director Ian Darke, worked hard to bring the production alive with good direction, hilarious one-liners and a colourful traditional set, especially the high tower spinning wheel room and wicked witches cave.  Plenty of lively music was provided by the band, headed by their super Musical Director, Neil Ravenscroft along with excellent bright dancing provided by choreographer, Lorraine Callan.


This was, a lovely evening out watching a pantomime that was thoroughly enjoyed by all their loyal community audience, both young and old.