Perth’s panto this year is a sassy re-imagining of the classic fantasy tale. This spin includes transferring the story into the fun loving ‘60s where we find Sleeping Beauty to be a feisty young woman (an addictively energetic performance by Louise McCarthy) who falls under the spell of an evil, famous Las Vegas show singer, the evil Lucretia.
The show looks fantastic, with vibrant costumes and a sumptuous, slightly gaudy set design which adds to the fantastically over-the-top candy-coloured essence of proceedings. It’s no surprise that director Kenny Miller has a background in set design as the performance is always a sight to behold and will keep even the youngest audience member in wonder at the visuals on show.
This does mean, however, that some of the actors get lost in the presentation. With a relatively vast range of characters, the performances are a mixed bunch. Maybe because of the writing, some characters seem underdeveloped, and a lot of the younger members of the cast struggle to make their mark. However, the panto dame (a fiendishly fun performance by Barrie Hunter) and the dim-witted father (Ian Grieve) hold up some of the more traditional side of panto performance, with fine audience participation and old school style comedy. Gayle Telfer Stevens meanwhile has a blast as the evil Lucretia, and performs some memorable solo numbers; however, it would have been good to have a sidekick for her villain to play off.
The show as a whole is a fine, family fun panto. There’s plenty of energy on show, but somehow some of the magic of the traditional panto style is lost somewhere. Be it from the more modern setting of the show, a lack of jokes for the children (adults are suitably catered for) or perhaps from it being performed in a concert hall where there seems to be a difficulty in connecting to the audience, somehow there feels just a zest of something missing.