Sleeping Beauty, Richmond Theatre, Surrey

3.00

Princess Beauty sleeps for a 100 years before the Prince she's met in the forest wakes her with a kiss. No jumped-up modern reading is going to sully that story at Richmond, where traditional pantomime is a staple of the season every year: a packed matinée of middle-class moppets and mothers is a perfect cultural indicator, even during a recession.

After a cheery opening dance sequence on a sunlit stage of primary coloured wobbly scenery – on Beauty's 18th birthday – we scroll back to her christening party where the wicked fairy Carabosse (a delightfully malevolent Anita Dobson) lays her curse and the king decrees the burning of the spinning wheels, so that Beauty might not bleed before she's ready.

En route we meet the court jester Jangles (Tim Vine) and a louche nurse (Fenton Gray) who vie, expertly, for our shouts and sympathy. George Wood's script, and Vine's patter, prove that they are properly disreputable thieves of bad gags, and all the audience-baiting is in the right place. Vine is a pantomime natural. He's very fast, and particularly good with the children on the stage. And he's outstanding in the comedy "12 Days of Christmas," with props hectically strewn across the stage including five toilet rolls, seven smelly socks and a cartridge in a bear's knee.

Sophie Isaacs's Beauty and Jon Robyns's Prince will live happily ever after, despite singing soupy pop songs and suffering the worst efforts of Carabosse, who taunts the audience with vocal virtuosity and an evil-hearted version of Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now", with a chorus of armadillo-crow creatures.

And innocent Beauty is fooled by an old hag at a rogue spinning wheel. A century passes in a flashdance, the rescue mounted by Jangles and the nurse in the unlikely guise of French beauticians, who are also involved in a rather wonderful miracle rejuvenation, hot-gospel number.

To 16 January (0844 871 7651)

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Arts and Entertainment
Bono throws water at the crowd while the Edge watches as they perform in the band's first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver

MusicThey're running their own restaurants

Voices
The main entrance to the BBC headquarters in London
TV & Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food