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Magic journey

PUBLISHED: 15:51 18 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:16 11 August 2010

WELCOME one and all to the Broadway Christmas Panto extravaganza – and what a show they have for you this year. There is song and dance, men dressed as woman, an X Factor competition and of course lots and lots of audience participation. And as the Dame N

WELCOME one and all to the Broadway Christmas Panto extravaganza - and what a show they have for you this year.

There is song and dance, men dressed as woman, an X Factor competition and of course lots and lots of audience participation.

And as the Dame Nanny Cook (Tim Major) will tell you "Everyone has to do it!" and you wouldn't want to get on his/her bad side.

So set your winter blues aside and forget about wrapping presents and sending cards for now, Sleeping Beauty is just the ticket to bring you Christmas cheer.

Oh no it's not - Oh yes it is!

Join the colourful and talented cast as they take you on a magical journey to the rather familiar sounding realm of Barking and Dagenham (and outlying regions including Ilford, Woodford and a chain of Greggs in the high street).

Meet fairy Snowdrop, played with glee by Marnie Baumer, in her fist ever Pantomime.

She is the good, kind fairy and we join her and her other flower fairies on a day of great joy as the Princess Aurora has just been born.

The bumbling and forgetful King (Ben DeHalpert) is showing off the infant to the kingdom and the fairies are bestowing gifts of beauty and happiness.

But their celebrations are cut short when the evil fairy Narcissus (Simone Craddock) shows up uninvited and very upset that her invitation seems to have gone astray.

She places a terrible curse upon the tiny princess, that on her 16th birthday Aurora will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die!

The entire kingdom is devastated - but there is a ray of hope.

Fairy Snowdrop cannot reverse the spell but she can lessen its effects so that Aurora falls asleep only to be wakened by true love's first kiss.

This classic tale is a favourite of kids and grown-ups everywhere and the talented cast at The Broadway have retold it with wit and flair.

Dame Nanny Cook and her idiotic but lovable son Jester Fool (Sam Wilmot) are hilarious.

Jester seems to be made of elastic as he flips across the stage, break dancing, cart-wheeling and of course he is a crack shot with a cream pie.

Nanny Cook has a ferocious wit, an acid tongue and a great knack for embarrassing her son, but these two both have their hearts in the right place.

The beautiful Princess Aurora is played by Lorna Amy Sullivan, who seemed a little nervous at first but her singing went from strength to strength after a shaky start in her solo.

Her brave Prince Valiant (Dean Kilford) was everything you would expect; handsome, heroic and suitably horrified when Nanny Cook suggests he can practice "love's first kiss" on her!

A wonderful cast of youngsters provided the chorus and dancing, with spectacular outfits and incredibly timing these students from Barking College of performing arts were a wonder to watch.

But it was Simone Craddock, in her delightfully wicked turn as the evil fairy Narcissus, who stole the show.

Her singing voice, poise and posture on stage were brilliant - and that evil laugh - well it has to be heard to be believed!

So make sure seeing Sleeping Beauty is top of your Christmas wish list this festive season.

It is on until Saturday January 3, tickets from £9.50 with lots of special offers, call the box office for more information on 020 8507 5607.


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