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Theatre Review: Sleeping Beauty--Byre Theatre ****

Joy Watters reviews 'a gift of a show, hilarious and heart-warming'.

Forget that Christmas shopping nonsense and get along to your local panto. Much more enjoyable and wallet-friendly. The Byre’s Sleeping Beauty is a gift of a show, hilarious and heart-warming in these dark days.

This year, Glasgow’s Bard In The Botanics company is back at St Andrews on their sixth yuletide visit to the Byre, and what a talented bunch they are. The show, written and directed by Bard’s Gordon Barr, sits beautifully in the cosy confines of the Byre auditorium, providing the audience with a feast of entertainment.

There are all the traditional elements of panto plus Barr’s own take on the traditional fairy tale. This Sleeping Beauty shows a mother and daughter who have become estranged re-uniting through the power of love. In this Scottish-themed version, Beauty becomes Bonnie and it is not a handsome prince who wakes her after a century of sleep.

At the heart of it all lies Alan Steele’s dame, Fairy Mary Doll, the superglue for the wealth of humour that runs throughout. Fairy Mary is training to be a fairy godmother, muddling her way through in a selection of gorgeous frocks. The Bard’s six-strong company excels, particularly feisty modern lass Bonnie (Kirsty Findlay), Stephanie McGregor’s wee daft Minnie McMinxster and clumsy loveable Prince Hamish (Samuel Pashby).

Stephen Arden, who also choreographs, is wicked queen Raven La Corbie, gorgeous in dark greens and blacks. She does not get her come-uppance at the end as this version concludes by urging us all to be kind to everyone. The audience does get to hiss her at first, as a Christmas without boos is unthinkable.

The youth cast sing, dance and act their hearts out, joining in the various pop hits and songs from the shows with vigour in this festive treat.

Runs at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews until 5 January 2019.

Tags: theatre

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