FROM start to finish, it is safe to say that this year’s panto at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal has it all.
This is ‘Sleeping Beauty’ with a budget, and boy, is that budget spent well.
Impressive pyrotechnics, amazing 3D effect sequences and even a flying motorbike that dangles star man Joe Pasquale high above the audience, are just some of the stand-out features of the production.
But though the special effects undoubtedly add to the magic, they do not in anyway detract from the hilarious script.
Joe Pasquale, as court jester Muddles, is the key character, leading the audience through the tale of how the beautiful Princess Beauty falls asleep for 100 years after pricking her finger on a spinning wheel.
His performance is excellent and he again proves himself to be a master in pantomime acting.
He engages extremely well with the audience, getting everyone warmed up with a little song and reacting perfectly to every response from the crowd.
But it is when he goes slightly off script, improvising as it seems, whenever he feels like, that the laughter really is out loud.
The slightly bemused looks and unstoppable fits of giggles from his fellow actors indicate that only he knows where he will go!
Every panto needs a good dame and Ceri Dupree as Beauty’s mum, Queen Passionella, is one of the best I have ever seen.
Funny, slightly risque and with a wardrobe of the most amazing costumes - more than a dozen of which she changes into during the performance - she revels in her glamorous persona and knocks out some brilliant jokes and one-liners.
Princess Beauty (Lucy Evans) and Prince Daniel (Scott Mobley) look like a perfect Disney couple and admirably cope with Pasquale’s wacky ways, while the good Enchantress (Shona White) and evil witch Carabosse (Jenna Lee-James) show off their amazing singing voices with some pretty catchy songs.
A mention must go to the scenery which really is impressive, while the much-talked about 3D films are surprisingly good, taking you on a trip through an enchanted forest, complete with creepy crawlies jumping out at you.
All I can say is, if you haven’t got your tickets yet, what are you waiting for?
l Sleeping Beauty is on until Sunday 15th January and tickets are available at www.trch.co.uk or on 0115 989 5555.