SHERMAN’S SLEEPING BEAUTIES SPARKLE AND SHINE..

It isn’t Christmas without a fairy tale story.

Well, that’s what I tell myself as I desperately cling on to my love of Princesses, magic and make believe stories.  And that’s exactly why I was childishly excited for Sherman Cymru’s latest adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, written by Robert Alan Evans.

I knew little about the show before entering the beautiful building that is Sherman; it’s the way I like to approach most shows.  All I knew is that Evans had taken the classical fairy tale we all know and love and given it a bit of a modern spin.  Always a risky business, but in more cases than not (in my experience anyway), a worthy choice.

The festive spirit was brimming at the edges as I walked through the doors; carol singers in one corner, majestic tree in the other, bunting, decorations, mulled wine, mince pies… the atmosphere was electric.  Families with children of all ages waited expectantly for the mighty call of the overhead speaker.  As we were eventually called to our seats I noticed I was probably the only 22 year old in a sea of pre-teens and gurgling toddlers.  I clung to my little cup of mulled wine (another bonus point; Sherman allows drinks inside the theatre) and waited cheerfully for the Christmas background music to softly drop and the lights to dip.

And what did transpire was quite simply the perfect family show.  Sleeping Beauties followed the lives of Dawn, the beautiful and cursed Princess, and Eve, her comical and dowdy friend.  Bound together by the curse of the Forest-bound Fertility Wife the girls are taken on a journey 1000 years into the future.

The Sleeping Beauties C31B0790

 Images by Mark Douet

Evans plays with the drama of time and the horror of being forced to re-imagine the future; he brings the tale to a more modern time, whilst maintaining the charm and innocence of classic fairy tales.  Magic, intrigue, friendship and young love make this story captivating for a younger audience, whilst topical jokes and playful humour kept the theatre lively right through until the final line.

The Sleeping Beauties C31B1287

 Images by Mark Douet

Lisa Jen Brown, cast as the Fertility Wife, was particularly commanding.  She played the part delightfully, with singing solos dispersed throughout to add even more sparkle to the festive mix.  As your perception of her character changed you realised how clever the plot really was, whilst remaining extremely accessible for the younger audience.

Clove, the “baddie” of the play, was your typical fairy tale scrooge; over the top, slimy and easily hated.  A bit much for me, but he certainly pleased the children with his extravagant gestures and excessive facial expressions.

The modest set was sweet and humble, adding to the endearing innocence of the performance.  The Forest scenes were especially enchanting, with sparkling trees glittering down from the ceiling for the characters to dive in and out of.  Despite the Forest supposedly being the “deep dark” setting, it kept the scenes light and appealing.

The Sleeping Beauties C31B1194

Images by Mark Douet

Sleeping Beauties certainly ticked all the right boxes for family entertainment.  It’s engaging, pure and full of morals to keep the parents smiling.  Perfect for this time of year, it’s ideal for families with younger children.

My only negative is I was hoping it would be slightly more accessible to an older audience, whilst remaining jovial for the young ones. I didn’t quite get the feeling I normally do from these sorts of performances, but I don’t think I was really meant to.  It’s a fairy tale to keep children caring about the classic childhood stories; and it absolutely has the potential to do so.

The Sleeping Beauties I80A2221

Images by Mark Douet

Sleeping Beauties is running from now until January 4th.

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