Reviews

Sleeping Beauty (2014)-A Musical Review

‘Magic is real’, or at least it is at the Lyric right now. We, at NG, were given the opportunity to see ‘Sleeping Beauty’ the musical and (music lovers that we are), we leaped at the chance. Derek O’Connor’s adaptation of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, much like the ‘Disney’ classic, is a musical re-imagining of an age old tale. However, in this version, the scripting and lyrics make it feel a lot closer to home.

Kathryn Aiken – as the magical fairy ‘Firefly’

Kathryn Aiken – as the magical fairy ‘Firefly’

The production is extremely family orientated and thus we were surrounded by, what seemed like, a school’s worth of children. The room was awash with barely contained anticipation and, much to my inner child’s delight, an inspired collection of ‘Disney’ and Christmas songs filled the theatre, before the main event. So, now suitably mesmerized, the show began and I, like all the children around me, was transported to a world where magic seemed both rife and real.

 L to R – Tommy Wallace as ‘Fang’ and Richard Ashton as ‘The King’

L to R – Tommy Wallace as ‘Fang’ and Richard Ashton as ‘The King’

Although the story is undoubtedly based on the classic Brothers Grimm tale it is, none the less, an original re-working. O’Connor manages to incorporate a sense of wit, for the parents, and slapstick for the children resulting in a flawless comic style that manages to appeal to all ages. Parallel to this seamless comedy were the spectacular scores by Conor Linehan. The songs are full of both magic and story telling which, along with the events unfolding before your eyes, enables children, and adults alike, to feel like they are part of the adventure.The stage itself felt like it was transported from the pages of the Grimm tales and, thanks to a clever use of lighting and staging, enabled the audience to really believe in the Prince’s journey from wood to castle.

L to R – Tommy Wallace as the Prince’s familiar ‘Wolf, and Sam T McKee as the valiant Prince  Antoine

L to R – Tommy Wallace as the Prince’s familiar ‘Wolf, and Sam T McKee as the valiant Prince
Antoine

Not to be upstaged, however, were the enchanting cast themselves. Although, as a unit, they worked incredibly well together there were, in my eyes a couple of stand out performances. Jo Donnelly as Roselyn managed to draw many the pantomime reaction from the audience in her unique portrayal of a now infamous villain whilst, in what could be considered a supporting role, Tommy Wallace portrayed true friendship and loyalty in his, laugh a minute, portrayal of ‘The Wolf’. The stand out musical performances undoubtedly lie with Beccy Henderson as ‘Rose’ and Kathryn Aiken as ‘Firefly’, as it was their delivery and passion that led me to wonder if their songs would be available to download.

The cast of Sleeping Beauty – L to R - – Jo Donnelly, Tommy Wallace, Kathryn Aiken, Sam T  McKee, Beccy Henderson and Richard Ashton

The cast of Sleeping Beauty – L to R – – Jo Donnelly, Tommy Wallace, Kathryn Aiken, Sam T
McKee, Beccy Henderson and Richard Ashton

In all, this adaptation of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ is a resounding success. In these cold winter days and with the stressful lead up to Christmas, I can think think of no better way for a family to unite. Children will be spellbound and I challenge even the most resilient of adult not to discover their own inner child and, even for the briefest moment, believe that magic could be real.

Beccy Henderson as ‘Princess Rose’ the Lyric’s very own Sleeping Beauty

Beccy Henderson as ‘Princess Rose’ the Lyric’s very own Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty continues its run at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast until 4th January 2015. Tickets can be bought via the Lyric Theatre website.

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