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A CurtainUp London Review
The gardening theme is set up with Fairy Flax (Bea Holland) who opens the show as Mrs Nice while introducing us to the villainess Belladonna Bindweed (Ally Holmes), the Bad Fairy with black wings and mean intentions. Continuing the garden theme is Billy Bogbean (Howard Gossington) and his sidekick, Dog Rose part dog and part pink rose, a puppet cutesy that barks. The costumes and sets continue with a floral theme. The princess explores the woods which have a wonderfully painted backdrop of those furtive tigers from the French artist Henri Rousseau. Of course there is plenty of opportunity after everyone has been asleep for a hundred years to show an overgrown palace garden for the prince to hack through.
Nanny Fanny’s costumes in the tradition of the Dame are extravagantly exotic. I particularly liked the one based on a bottle of ketchup, very saucy! But there is also a Girl Scout’s uniform and the glorious finale frock complete with wig with its own watering can. The cookery scene has topical references to chef Gordon Ramsay as the participants get plastered with batter.
What Phil Willmott has brought us is a delightful pantomime with music which includes well known pop tunes, Bonnie Tyler’s wonderful "Holding Out For a Hero" has perfect lyrics to introduce the charming Prince Sylvanus (Alton Letto) who sings as prettily as his dashing looks. Juliet Mary McGill’s Princess Rose has a divine voice and is a spirited princess. After a hundred years asleep, the palace wake up to the Judy Garland classic "Good Morning Good Morning" which the whole audience are persuaded to join in and sing on their feet with actions!
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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