The Hawth Theatre shows once again it is the best panto around as Carrie Hope Fletcher shines in Sleeping Beauty
That’s a line pantomime’s greatest ever Dame Michael J Batchelor says during the ‘world famous bench scene’ in this year’s Hawth panto – Sleeping Beauty.
He’s not wrong - but my word it is worth every penny. Every year I think about how I am going to start my review of the Hawth panto. I normally revert to ‘the Hawth panto just gets better and better every year’.
I promised myself I wouldn’t do that...but this year’s production really has raised the stakes in production and quality. It does help when you have a West End star in the shape of Carrie Hope Fletcher (Carrabosse). Add to that the aforementioned Mr Batchelor (Nurse Nellie), Carrie’s bezzie mate Scott Paige (Moonbeam), CBeebies star Andy Day (Jangles), Luke Walsh (Prince Michael) and Chrystine Symone (Aurora) and you really can’t go wrong.
Throw in a bit of fire from Josh Morris and Kris Madden and you have a spectacular show.
If you came across this in the West End, you wouldn’t bat an eyelid. It really is that good. But the incredible production values hasn’t come at a cost to the traditional elements you would expect. You have the wheelbarrow of puns, the topical gags, the famous bench, a very messy slippy and slidy scene and some great audience patronisation….sorry participation. Crawley Town’s lack of trophies was the punchline of one joke, while Horsham, Redhill and Worthing all got the joke treatment as well.
It’s everything you expect from a Hawth panto, but x 2.
Nothing could be apt when Nurse Nellie is introduced singing Fabulous, Baby! from Sister Act. It summed up the show perfectly.
There was a bit of trepidation this year in our household when it was announced Richard Franks – Michael J Batchelor’s normal partner in comedy crime – was not going to be in it. But we should have had no fear at all – Andy Day was the perfect replacement.
He had instant chemistry with Batchelor and he kept the show going. And chemistry is key throughout the whole show. Hope Fletcher and Paige, as is referenced in the show, are best mates and it was clear to see in their duet of I Hate Everything About You.
The roles of Prince Michael and Aurora can sometimes be seen as a bit twee and bit meh in some productions. But Walsh and Symone really gave those characters something extra – and again, they had real chemistry.
Hope Fletcher, who was clearly having a great time playing the evil Carrabosse, almost stole the whole show when she sung Hellfire (from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame) backed by Velociraptors and Morris and Madden’s spectacular sparks.
But sorry Carrie, Mr Batchelor did steal it for me when he came out dressed as…..sorry I don’t want to spoil anything. Let’s just say Jurassic Park would have been a completely different film if he had been cast instead of Sam Neill.
Throw in a great ensemble – both adult and junior (we had the Green Team) – and you have just the perfect panto.
I have said it before and I will say it again, if you tell me there is a better panto about, I simply won’t believe you. Evolution and the Hawth Theatre, you have done it again. Now bring on Jack and the Beanstalk!
SLEEPING BEAUTY tickets are selling fantastically well, with the following performances having the best availability...
9 December 7pm, 10 December 5.30pm, 12-14 December 5.30pm, 16 December 10.30am & 7pm, 17 December 5.30pm, 19 & 20 December 7pm, 27-29 December 5.30pm, 30 December 10.30am & 5.30pm and 31 December 11am.
You can check dates and book tickets at https://www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk/the-hawth/whats-on/sleeping-beauty