Dear mummy, we’re feeling very festive on the blog this week. Not only have I seen Father Christmas I’ve also experienced my first ever Panto (at the age of 3 and a half ).
We went to a traditional pantomime featuring glittering costumes, slap-stick humour, sensational songs and dazzling dance routines with a few pyrotechnics thrown in for good measure! What made it perfect for me that it was one of my favourite stories, Sleeping Beauty (or at least an interpretation of it). When my folks told me I was going to the BIG theatre I was super excited and skipped into the foyer with a massive smile on my face.
The Anvil is a lovely theatre, with fresh carpets, modern features, sparkly lights and a beautiful foyer area. There is plenty of space to collect box office tickets, not feel overwhelmed by the crowds with a large bar area and great coffee spot and plenty of seating. My folks are ashamed to say in the twelve years they’ve lived in Basingstoke they’ve never been! They were really impressed with the theatre and their facilities. The staff at the box office were friendly and knowledgeable and the foyer attendants helped find a booster seat for me and guided us to our seats.
The theatre is spacious and the seats are comfy (we should know as we sat on them for 2 hours) everyone seemed to have a good view of the stage too as the seating was like that of a cinema and super tiered.
Excitement was at fever pitch when the house lights went down and the Good Fairy (Sarah Jane Buckley from Hollyoaks) appeared. She blessed Sleeping Beauty’s Christening with fairy dust and magic gifts. Pink sparkly lighting and children dancing was swiftly interrupted with the entrance of Carabosse the Evil Fairy (played by Sue Holderness famed for her role in Only Fools and Horses) as she appeared high in a tower in a plum of green smoke and evil cackles.
Cursing Baby Princess Rose to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die. I gasp in horror and put my hands over my ears and eyes visibly frightened of this character, however I slowly peeked through the gaps in my fingers and came around the to the idea of booing her whenever she appeared on stage. My little voice carried along with other children’s voices.
My folks were impressed with the stage production of the show. My daddy used to dabble with stage management at college so was interested in the sets, pyrotechnics and more innovative screens which depicted more elaborate scenes like the castle, forest of thorns and a huge dragon.
It really was a spectacular show and kept me hooked for 2 hours. I stayed in my booster seat until the last 10 minutes, when I sat on my mummy’s lap to clap at the end. There was something special about seeing one of my favourite Disney stories come to life on the stage and I wasn’t disappointed. The nods, winks and jokes on popular culture, Snapchat, Hashtags and Brexit kept my folks entertained too. Some quite controversial and bad taste like the Bruce Forsyth gag. Which raised a smile and a couple of eyebrows.
The characters were all strong, which is unusual for a pantomime cast, there were no weak players. My mummy’s favourite was Nanny Glucose (Charles Burden) and her…I mean ‘his’ fascination with a member of the audience called Paul (poor man). His wit and personality really stole the show and a lot of his comments went over my head. Slap Stick comedy at its best especially with the mop scene. The King (Phil Cole) who started to rap like X-Factor contestant Honey G, shades and all had the whole audience laughing and joining in.
My favourite characters were *cough* the Prince (played by Ben Harlow) much to my Daddy’s horror, I’m only a toddler after all and Silly Billy the court jester. His references to Pokemon and the Pen Apple Pineapple Pen song had us in stitches. We’ve never laughed so much, plus we loved the way he rapped and twerked throughout the performance. He was very ‘down with the kids’.
My daddy liked Sleeping Beauty played by CBeebies star Katrina Bryan and she had a really strong and effortless voice. Her rendition of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t stop the feeling’ song along with the prince had us toe tapping and singing along. It was a really entertaining pantomime and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The director did a great job and it’s perfect for families of all ages.
Sleeping Beauty is on from 8 Dec 2016 – 2 Jan 2017 at The Anvil, Basingstoke, Hampshire.
Tickets range from £26, £25, £21, £19; Over 65s £2 off, under 16s and f/t students £3 off (includes £2 booking fee). Family ticket, Schools and Group rates available and you can book via this link, here.
We’d recommend this, a great first panto for kids…..and adults especially if you have never been to the Anvil before! Can I go back again please…………oh no you can’t……..oh yes I can!
Love Bella x
Disclaimer: We were invited down to The Anvil in order to write our review. All purchases on site were our own.