I think there is no dispute that, in the kingdom of Havering, Queen’s Theatre is King of the Pantos. With amazing scenery, costumes and the acting/singing talents of the Cut to the Chase cast; they always place on a good show.
When you go to see Sleeping Beauty at The Queen’s Theatre, you are more than a member of the audience. With fights happening down the aisles, regular interactions with its spectators and a member of the audience picked at the start to guard the all-important sword, you are a member of the cast in the play.
With stunning castles, beds that spin and rotating stairwells, the scenery is astonishing. Also the costumes have to be seen to be believed, with Simon Jessop keeping the most outlandish costumes for himself. Some of our favourite costumes warn by Simon, who plays the Panto dame Nurse Nellie, include a bag on her head and the nurse riding a giant squirrel
There were lots of laughs from the boys and girls of all ages in the audience, especially at the outlandish behaviour of the Mr Tumble like character of Silly Billy, played by Sam Pay, who we last saw in Godspell. As our guide for the night, Silly Billy does tell quite a few cheesy jokes but its all part of the panto experience and it was all really funny in the end.
Claire Storey and Megan Leigh Mason battle each other as Fairy Carabosse and Fairy Primrose. Fairy Primrose is a classic good fairy, while Fairy Caraboose is obviously based on Angelina Jolie’s recent appearance in Maleficent and there are plenty more cultural references from this year including multiple references to the song ‘All About That Bass’. Claire Storey has appeared in a lot of productions at The Queen’s Theatre, while Megan Leigh Mason has previously appeared in Godspell.
Rachel Dawson (Princess Aurora) and Thomas Sutcliffe (Tom Clutterbuck) play a young couple in love but forbidden to marry. They both have amazing voices and both put on magnificent performances, including the song ‘You woke my heart’. A lot of the songs involved the youth team including ‘Happy Day’ and ‘Naughty Woodland Sprites!’ The young team that we saw were extremely talented and their talents included sing, dancing and scaring Silly Billy.
The night was a lot of fun and I highly recommend taking your children to the show, but do it quickly as tickets are selling quick
|Princess Aurora||Rachel Dawson|
|The Dame: Nurse Nellie||Simon Jessop|
|Fairy Primrose||Megan Leigh Mason|
|Silly Billy||Sam Pay|
|Fairy Carabosse||Claire Storey|
|King Ethelbert the Unsteady||Fred Broom|
|Tom Clutterbuck||Thomas Sutcliffe|
|Set & Costume Designer||Mark Walters|
|Assistant Musical Director||Greg Last|
|Lighting Designer||Christopher Howcroft|
|Sound Designer||Andrew Smart|
HornchurchLife’s Reviews also appear in Trident magazine and Musical Theatre Review. If you would like to feature them on your website or magazine, contact us
Photos by Mark Sepple