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Thursday, 2 January 2020

REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty at the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon

QDOS has built its reputation for Pantomimes with high production values and big budgets with all-star casts and large special FX but they also run several smaller regional venues and stage shows for them at Christmas. The Wyvern Swindon is such a venue with a capacity of 650 and this year they entrusted Chris Jarvis with writing, directing and leading the cast as Happy Harry in an enjoyable retelling of Sleeping Beauty. He keeps the other fairies bestowing their wishes on the baby Rose, seeks to entrap the Prince as the culprit of the fatal spinning wheel and neatly avoids the need to travel forward in time by offering 100 years sleep or kiss of a true love as alternatives, not sequential requirements. The result is a lively entertaining well-balanced show with a strong ensemble feel to the cast of 7 principals, 5 dancers and 3 juveniles with a good mix of comedy business and well-known musical numbers.

Ben Kennedy supervises and arranges the music and with choreographer Lucy Dungate includes well drilled versions of "Burn Baby Burn", "Time Warp", "Walking on Sunshine", "Higher Love", "Can't stop the beat", "Don't stop me now" and "World of your imagination" with a full sound from the band of three, although in some parts of the venue the sound mix muffled the vocals. They are all upbeat recognisable tunes and add to the party atmosphere. The 3 juvenile female dancers are perfectly integrated into the professional dance routines to make a team of eight in the big numbers.
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