Tea Tree Players
Tea Tree Players Theatre
Until 02 Dec 2017

Review by Maggie Wood

Wrangling a cast of 35 on the bijou stage of Tea Tree Players’ Theatre might have been a challenge, but it is one that directors Tina Hall and Robert Andrews have pulled off well, delivering a total treat of a panto experience.

“The Sleeping Beauty Pantomime” is a rollicking non-stop delight from start to finish. It may not be the most extravagant show you’ve seen all year, but it has the one elusive quality that all good community theatre productions need to succeed - it has heart, and it has it by the bucket load.

From the tiny well-costumed kids in the front row of the finale cutely getting their steps (only slightly) wrong, to the audience, well used to the pantomime capers joining in without hesitation, “The Sleeping Beauty” is a cornucopia of good-feeling Christmas magic delivered in a whirlwind two-hour timeslot.

Of course the production’s success depends heavily on its leads, and with Barry Hill as Queen Dorothy, they’re off to a roaring start. Hill’s panto dame is completely on-point, the brashness wonderfully contrasting Mike Phillips’ bumbling King Norbert. With Hannah Doyle as a sweet Princes Aurora, Richard Hobson’s slightly ‘upper class twit’ Prince(s) Orlando, Amy Colangelo as a purr-fect Kitty and Lachlan Blackwell as the dotty Billy, the goodies in the royal household are set to celebrate the birth of their latest Princess.

The three good fairies bestow their blessings on the baby – Sarah Kent as Fairy Graceful, Brooklyn O’Shea as Fairy Beautiful and Trinity O’Shea as Fairy Thoughtful, along with their leader Rhiannon Shapcott as Fairy Peaceful – when the proceedings are interrupted.

Evil fairy Carabosse played wickedly by Theresa Dolman and her nasty cat – Kristyn Barnes as Spindleshanks - are upset that they haven’t been invited and place a curse on the baby – at age 18 she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel spindle and die. Luckily, Fairy Peaceful manages to reduce the spell to just falling asleep for one hundred years, but how will it all play out?

Special mention goes to lighting and sound design and operation by Robert Andrews, and once again great scenic artwork from Damon Hill and Penny Phillips on sturdy sets by Robert Andrews and the TTP crew.

If you enjoy your theatre interactive, massively entertaining and with a singalong or two thrown in, this is one for you.