This years festive offering at the Beacon Arts Centre is Sleeping Beauty. When evil fairy Carabosse is snubbed from the new princesses christening she curses the child not to live past her 18th birthday if she pricks her finger on a spindle. Queen Matilda casts her own spell to lessen the curse so that her daughter would "only" fall asleep for 100 years unless true loves kiss can break the spell.
The core four cast members have been performing together for a few years now and they are what makes this production so special. Jane McCarry and Mark Cox will be the draw for many coming to this show because of their roles on TV's Still Game and the duo make an excellent team as Carabosse and her long-suffering henchman Cludgie. Jimmy Chisholm is one of the finest pantomime dames I have ever seen and he bounces superbly off his "not very bright" son Hector (played by Lee Samuel).
As Nurse Moira McClunkey, Jimmy Chisholm is one of the strongest aspects of this show. His quick wit makes for excellent ad libs and his innuendo always manages to stay above the kids heads but make the adults howl!
The music in Sleeping Beauty is a mix of classics such as "Time Warp" and recent chart material with a particular highlight being Queen Matilda closing Act 1 with "A Million Dreams" from The Greatest Showman. Mark Cox (as Cludgie) performs "Moira" which is a parody of West Side Story's "Maria" with exceptional comedic delivery. Finally, while the end of show sing-a-long is a staple of any panto, there's a creative twist this year that made me laugh harder than I have in a long time!
This was my third year attending the Beacon Arts Centre panto and its one that I always recommend. While the prices for other regional venues continue to rocket, the maximum price for an adult ticket during this run is £21 and discounts are offered for a variety of patrons including students, disability living allowance, job seekers allowance and Young Scot card holders to name a few!
For me, what makes the Beacon panto so wonderful is that it doesn't need to rely on special effects to create magic. The beautiful sets are a million times better than any fancy 3D screens and the costumes are spectacular. This is a traditional panto with a fresh script and terrific cast that will make you feel full of festive joy!
Sleeping Beauty runs at the Beacon Arts Centre until 31st December.