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Sunday, 15 December 2019

REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty at the Alban Arena

Sleeping Beauty is an established pantomime title with a strong appeal to a young audience but each writer adopts a different approach to the one hundred year time travel that is central to the story so it was very interesting to see two of this year’s productions on the same day. The Watford Palace version was written by the brilliantly creative Andrew Pollard and the Alban Arena version, just 10 miles up the road by the equally reliable Paul Hendy. There could not be a more contrasting approach to the same story with Princess Aurora falling for a Prince before the evil fairy’s spell sends her into a deep sleep despite her nannie and father’s best efforts to prevent it. But there the similarities end!

At the Alban Arena just up the road from the Watford palace it is completely different approach with the cast of 7 including three comics, six ensemble dancers, three kids’ teams and four musicians and they pack a great deal of business into the two- and half-hour show. Directed by the St Albans regular and favourite Bob Golding in his ninth year and back on stage again as the dame, Nurse Nellie it is very much his show. He knows what works with the audience and what is expected of an Alban Arena pantomime: lots of spurious comedy routines all set in the appropriately named Hamalot.
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