Tuesday, March 5

The Scouse Sleeping Beauty – Liverpool’s Royal Court

Coming to the Royal Court Liverpool is always a delight and tonight I had the privilege of seeing ‘The Scouse Sleeping Beauty’ in all its glory. Liverpool’s Royal Court host their annual pantomime which emphasises ‘don’t bring the kids!’ as it loosely uses a panto storyline to create their usual crazy, amusing and fun night of adult entertainment. As I left the theatre tonight, there was no denying the extraordinary atmosphere of Christmas merriment and good humour and it was clear that this theatre company really know how to throw a party!

We first meet Maleffluent (Lindzi Germain) and her trusty sidekick Crow (Andrew Schofield) who nastily cast a spell on baby Ora (Jamie Clarke). Ora’s father is the King of Poundland (Liam Tobin) and he promises to protect young Ora from any ‘pricks’ with the help of three fairies, brilliantly named after the Liverpool Ferries, Iris (Emma Bispham), Snowdrop (Hayley Sheen) and Daffodil (Keddy Sutton). No show would be complete without the faithful love interest that is originally named ‘Scouse’ (Michael Fletcher) in this Liverpool fairytale and Emma Grace Arends completes the cast playing an ensemble role. These performers are exceptional and it’s an added bonus when you can see just how much they are enjoying themselves on stage. Their timing and delivery, as well as the impressive ad-libing make for comedic viewing and with vocals to die for, there are no qualms with the talent and quality of each and every cast member.

The live band have been dotted across the stage at different heights and adds another layer to the visually beautiful staging. There’s a set and then there’s a “Royal Court set”. This revolving masterpiece creates fun dynamics and smoothly supports the slick scene changes. The use of video footage is an attractive added extra as we have the opportunity to cast our attention to something a bit different, particularly during the ‘scooter’ scene.

Although the title does contain the familiar words ‘sleeping beauty,writer Kevin Fearon has produced something brand new with his lively script that has humour and wit in bucketfuls. Of course, it goes without saying that this show is made for ‘scousers’ and will be best enjoyed by the locals, as some references and name dropping went over my head. However it is quite amazing just how much funny content can be created from one city of people! From the obvious accent jokes to their movements, sayings and favourite things to do; there was always something totally ‘scouse’ to make you laugh.

The creators have cleverly used a mixture of original songs as well as some much loved classics to keep the audience engaged throughout with some highlights being ‘High way to hell’ and ‘We are Family’.

It takes a big team to create something this impressive so a huge congratulation to the painters, carpenters, stage managers, lighting and sound team, wardrobe team as well of course as the cast and directors (Stephen Fletcher, Howard Gray) for their amusing execution of ‘The Scouse Sleeping Beauty’.  These guys could make a good show with their eyes closed however we cannot forget the biggest cast member in this show; the audience. From the funny heckles to the infectious giggles, this audience sang, clapped and laughed their way through every scene making the experience truly warm and enjoyable. I really would recommend going to this hilarious production, even better if you can bring a gang! The show continues until the 22nd of January with tickets available at https://liverpoolsroyalcourt.com/whats-on/the-scouse-sleeping-beauty/

Reviewer: Bláthíne Maguire

Reviewed: 3rd December 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★