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THEATRE REVIEW: FTN reviews the Grand Opera House Belfast Christmas Panto: Sleeping Beauty

December 6th, 2013 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

Sleeping Beauty at The Grand Opera House, Belfast
Starring: May McFettridge and Lorraine Chase
To book tickets visit here

The undisputed Queen of Comedy, May McFettridge, will lead the cast of this year’s unmissable pantomime in the role of Queen May, and is joined by TV star Lorraine Chase as Carabosse, the Wicked Fairy, making her Grand Opera House panto debut. This enchanting tale offers a fantastic treat for all the family – featuring breath-taking scenery, spectacular effects and lavish costumes and a laugh-a-minute extravaganza – this is pantomime at its very best.

It’s the eve of Princess Beauty’s 21st Birthday and the festivities are in full swing. But not everyone’s in a joyous mood. The Wicked Fairy Carabosse (Lorraine Chase) wishes to seek her vengeance on the Royal Family and has cast an evil spell: If Princess Beauty pricks her finger on a spinning wheel, she will sleep for a 100 years, never waking until her one true love kisses her.

Well, let’s face it, we all know the fairy story. Thankfully, Sleeping Beauty Panto has enough gags, puns, slapstick, songs and scenery to make this re-telling perfect viewing for the whole audience.

May McFetridge (what a dame!) once again graces the boards of The Grand Opera House and headlines this brilliant ensemble cast. Her comic timing, audience put-downs and quick witted ad-libs are what makes this panto so memorable. “Queen May” has a grace no other person could imitate and her singing voice is something else!

As for acting, the honours must go to Lorraine Chase. Chewing up the scenery as the Evil Fairy Carabosse (or should that be “boos”), Lorraine has as a terrific singing voice backed by her charm to entice screaming children and adults to jeer and boo at her every appearance and evil deed. Children will love the character Muddles, who is the son of Queen Mary and whose infectious laughs, smiles and antics will win the charm of the audience easily.

The costumes are vibrant as are the set pieces and décor. From Fairytale Castles to enchanted forests and creepy dungeons, each backdrop and prop adds another character to this brilliant panto. There is one particular set piece that literally makes the stage come alive and had the audience cheering in disbelief!

The script is witty and current. With references to current televisions shows, television and musical personalities, there literally is something for everything for everyone. Oh, and fear not, there are plenty of “cheers”, “boos” and “ahhhhhhhhss” to make any audience feel part of the show.

All of the cast perform their own musical numbers from Blondie to the more traditional Christmas song and once viewed, it’s very safe to say that you will never think of a certain James Bond film and theme song the same way ever again!

Though the second act may be a little weaker than the first, and some of the specially composed songs may not be as strong as other segments, this is still one show that from the youngest pair of eyes to the seasoned panto lover will surely go down a treat!

4 out of 5 Nerds



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I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.