Review: Panto will not have you dozing

A colourful set, much fun and laughter, great music, two fairies, a pantomime dame and a reference to X-Factor, this can only mean one thing? Yes, it’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto time again at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich!

This year the talented team at the Theatre turn their hands to Sleeping Beauty and under the direction of Rob Salmon, they have created something rather special.

The evil witch Morgana has put a spell on King Candlestick Camelot’s baby daughter Susie, when she turns 16 she will prick her finger and die! Fortunately for the King, Fairy Fanciful and her trainee fairy assistant Frederica manage to shift the curse so that instead of dying, the princess sleeps for a 100 years. Add to this an unlikely hero, Simon Steadfast and Dame Taffeta Trott, plus some great musical numbers and you have all the ingredients for a wonderful pantomime!

William Kenning returns to the New Wolsey to play the Dame again this year, and what a brilliant Dame he makes! His antics on stage were hilarious, evening managing to make old jokes sound fresh and funny and the audience loved him. Esther Biddle is great as Fairy Fanciful and played the role well, as does Sarah Mahony as her wayward sidekick Federica – never have we seen a sprite with such amazing boots!

The talented Peter Manchester makes a return to the New Wolsey as our hero Simon Stedfast following his recent successful run in Mods and Rox. Lilly Howard makes a beautiful Princess with a wonderful voice and her tap dancing father King Camelot was brilliantly portrayed by Sean Kingsley.

Every pantomime requires a baddy to boo and hiss at and Karen Mann didn’t disappoint in her role as Morgana. Brilliant staging made her entrance quite scary and she lived up to the part fantastically. One small criticism would be her American accent, this didn’t really fit with the rest of the production and at times was a little off putting.

A special mention must also go to audience member Terry, who was a great sport. Despite the teasing from Dame Taffeta Trott Terry became a reluctant star!

Overall Sleeping Beauty is a brilliant night out for all the family with lots of fun and laughter along the way. The talented cast of actor musicians really bring the show to life belting out one hit after another, this really is one show you don’t want to miss.

So, will Dame Taffeta Trott keep Princess Susie safe? Will Simon Steadfast rescue the Princess from the tower? Who will win the sing off? To find out book your tickets for Sleeping Beauty at the New Wolsey Theatre – Christmas won’t be Christmas without this fantastic panto!

• Sleeping Beauty runs at the New Wolsey until Saturday 26th January, 2013. Box Office 01473 295900, or online at

Review Wendy Cook, Ipswich24 Magazine
All pictures courtesy Mike Kwasniak