Home » London Theatre Reviews » Sleeping Beauty at Harold Pinter Theatre | Review

Sleeping Beauty at Harold Pinter Theatre | Review

It’s a risky strategy, admitting to and even highlighting shortcomings in the production, out loud, to the audience, whilst the show is going on. In a sense, members of the cast are effectively reviewing themselves when they talk about lines being delivered properly, or occasionally not at all. After a particularly chaotic ensemble scene, Muddles (Yshee Black) felt she had no choice but to conclude, “Well, wasn’t that sh*t!

Sleeping Beauty at Harold Pinter TheatreMind you, the Harold Pinter Theatre audience was fully on board, and in a world where there is so much deception and deceit, in so many different ways, honesty from this show was very much appreciated. I haven’t seen RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, described to me by a fellow theatregoer as an annual (global pandemics aside) competition to discover the next drag superstar, though there were plenty of references to the show, its contestants, the ‘challenges’ they were set, and who was ranked higher than whom. One need not have seen Drag Race to pick up on the sassy but nonetheless civilised rivalry between contestants – long after their series has ended. But I suppose it helps to have some foreknowledge of the reality television show, if only to know whose opinion to agree with.

Carabosse (Victoria Scone) had to have several attempts to introduce themselves, with their fans in the audience interjecting their line, “My name is…” with “Victoria Scone!” For the most part, the sound balance between the music and the cast’s singing voices was excellent. Panto is best done without subtlety, and this one revels in its directness in various forms, whether it’s holding up a sign explaining exactly what something is supposed to represent, or Kitty Scott Claus’ Princess Beauty resolving the consent conundrum in Sleeping Beauty in possibly the most straightforward manner imaginable.

The show does, in the end, have all the various elements one would expect from a panto, with calls and responses aplenty, popular and festive tunes with modified lyrics, and a narrative in which good triumphs over evil. The production’s claim to be an ‘outrageous’ panto asserts itself in lines about a public figure who died some years ago, which drew what the script elsewhere referred to as ‘audible gasps’ from much of the audience. Personally, I’d heard it all before, perhaps not in the exact words, but the sentiments remain the same as they did when I first heard such putdowns in the late Nineties.

Ophelia Love plays ‘Villager No 4’, a side role not entirely dissimilar to the roles Nigel Havers finds himself playing at the panto at the London Palladium, in the sense that Ophelia is earnestly hoping for a bigger part. Having auditioned for Drag Race, she says she was turned down by their producers, but (to paraphrase) it’s their loss. A show that seems to rely on ad-libs from a cast more than comfortable with veering off-script, I should imagine no two shows are quite the same. Deliberately disorderly, it’s a riotous hoot.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Far far away, an all-star drag cast is waking up to re-tell the story of Sleeping Beauty, as you’ve never seen it before. Princess Aurora is under a cruel spell to sleep for 100 years… or is she just hungover and lazy… you decide. Will the evil Carabosse win the day, or will the dashing, suave, and ever so horny Prince Charming save the day, slay the competition, and save our Princess?!

Starring Kitty Scott-Claus (Death Drop, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK) Louis Cyfer (Death Drop, Cowbois), Yshee Black (Dick Whittington) as Muddles, Kemah Bob (The Jonathan Ross Show, Death Drop), Victoria Scone (Canada’s Drag Race vs. the World, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Death Drop: Back in the Habit), Ophelia Love as Ensemble Member, Michael Marouli (RuPaul’s Drag Race UK) and Kate Butch (RuPaul’s Drag Race UK).

Written by Soho and West End drag legend Miss Moppe, and from Christopher D. Clegg the creator of DEATH DROP, this ridiculous retelling of the sleepiest princess in all the land will have you laughing out loud, singing along, and wondering just WHO is behind you in TuckShop’s hilarious West End pantomime!

Age guidance: 16+

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1 thought on “Sleeping Beauty at Harold Pinter Theatre | Review”

  1. Really enjoyed reading your review of Sleeping Beauty at the Harold Pinter Theatre. It sounds like a hilarious and entertaining show, with a lot of references to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and other pop culture phenomena. I love a good panto, especially one that doesn’t take itself too seriously and breaks the fourth wall.

    I’m impressed by the cast and their ability to improvise and interact with the audience. I’m a fan of Victoria Scone, who I think is a fabulous drag queen and a fierce competitor on Drag Race. I also like Kitty Scott Claus, who I saw in Death Drop at the Garrick Theatre last year. She was brilliant and very funny.

    I’m curious to know what you thought of the songs and the costumes. Were they catchy and colourful? Did they fit the theme and the mood of the show? I always look for those aspects when I watch a panto, as they add to the fun and the spectacle.

    I’m also wondering if you have seen any other pantos this season. I’m always looking for the best deals on London theatre tickets and I love discovering new and exciting shows. I’ve heard good things about Pantoland at the Palladium, which features Julian Clary, Paul O’Grady, and Elaine Paige. Have you seen it or are you planning to see it?

    Thank you for sharing your opinion and your photos with us. You and your fellow theatregoers look very happy and amused. I hope to see more of your posts in the future.

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