Sleeping Beauty, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
As a parent, particularly of little girls, one can grow heartily sick of the saccharine world of princesses, fairies and their tyranny of pink.
What a relief then to see Mike Kenny’s Sleeping Beauty which will run in multi-coloured glory alongside West Yorkshire Playhouse’s main house offering Wind in the Willows this Christmas.
Natasha Magigi joyously defies the picture book stereotype of the slumbering princess and makes the production all the richer for doing so.
So too the rest of the cast especially Simon Kerrigan as the rubbish prince whose last-minute attack of manners almost derails the final awakening.
But although this is a 100 minute production through which five-year-olds and even younger children sat happily spellbound by the songs and actions, it can charm adults too.
Wrapped in music and gentle humour, Kenny still confronts the dark heart at the original versions of the fairytale. A childless king and queen in a mythical land are blessed with the long-awaited arrival of a new baby – an event heralded by a frog in the queen’s bath.
At a party thrown to name the child, one of the fairies – or nannas in this case, apparently modelled on Russia’s Eurovision entrants this year called the Babushkas – is not invited. Her revenge is terrible and bleak.
The child will die on her fifteenth birthday after pricking her finger on a spinning wheel. A counter spell by another fairy commutes the sentence from death to sleep and the King’s heartfelt efforts to shield his daughter from the inevitable, fail.
But despite the macabre nature of the original, parents need not fear that their child will be frightened or disturbed by what they see here. Bad Nanna Sandra played by Celia Adams is more petulant teen than wicked witch and in the end everything turns out just fine – unlike one of the originals when happy ever after gives way to an even darker bout of infanticide.
This is a lovely story, elegantly and sensitively told, wittily performed, that will provide an enjoyable introduction to the world of theatre for families to enjoy together.
To January 19
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 Stephen Hawking endorses Labour in the General Election
Fast & Furious 7 overtakes Frozen to become 5th highest grossing movie of all time
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show film
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding