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Theatre Review: Sleeping Beauty--Gardyne Theatre ****

Joy Watters reviews a panto that's 'hilarious, colourful big and cheeky'.

This year Dundee has its own professional panto and it’s finger-pricking good. Yes, the ancient fairy tale of the cursed princess who falls asleep for 100 years until kissed by her prince is a lovely piece of entertainment. Hilarious, colourful, big and cheeky, it really is a show for all the family with a clutch of jolly performances from Scotland’s rich reserve of comic actors.

Clichéd as it may sound, there really is something for everyone: the wee ones enjoyed the story and the huge helping of laughter, and the big ones became wee ones. Directed by George McMahon and written by Liam Dolan, it features a clutch of actors off the TV who know their panto stuff. Thankfully, there is no sleaze which can be so cringe-worthy for an audience of all ages.

Tom Urie (Big Bob aff River City) returns to professional panto after terrific weight loss to become the Dame, Nanny Fairy. And what a fine figure of a woman he is, with lovely costumes, lots of brio and an instant rapport with the audience.

Double act Karen Bartke and Darren Connell (Officer Karen and Boaby aff Scot Squad) team up again, but here she is the evil witch Maleficent, ever a cackle ready, and he is her daft son, struggling to be a baddie.

Ryan Paterson’s Muddles is in great comic form too with some hilarious visual and verbal gags up his sleeve. Add the King (James `Raven’ Mackenzie) and handsome Prince, William by name (geddit!), played by James Rottger and you have all the ingredients for festive fun.

It’s a bold and bright creation with plenty of audience participation.

Sleeping Beauty runs at the Gardyne Theatre in Dundee until January 6.

Tags: theatre

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