Musselburgh’s Brunton Theatre opens another Christmas cracker this year with its own spin on Sleeping Beauty, a fast-paced romp which updates the classic tale to modern day Musselburgh.
The tale revolves around young Sally (Julie Heatherill) who is the target of Grizzlebone the Witch (Lori McLean) and Wart (Stuart Ryan). As Grizzlebone tries to capture Sally on her 18th birthday, an intrepid band of friends get together to save her from certain death while Prince Duncan (Gary Lamont) dreams of one day marrying her.
Based on a story first published in 1697, this version peppers its script with cheeky modern references to Doctor Who (dropped off in the TARDIS, audience favourite Jamie McCrimmon (Arron Usher in a performance which never drops below 100mph) is named after a Doctor Who companion from the 60s), the Credit Crunch and Britain’s Got Talent. Alongside frequent asides to the audience, this is an unashamedly self-aware tale which both kids and their parents will find something to latch onto.
Of the cast, Julie Heatherill shines as the perky Sally, looking like she’d fit well into the cast of High School Musical 4. While her role may be rather thankless – always being whiter-than-white is never the most exciting character trait – her voice soars in the numerous musical numbers.
Worth special mention here is Graham Crammond as Nanny Nellie. Clearly relishing every moment of stage time, Crammond’s interaction with Usher is priceless, constant one-liners and ad-libs meaning that his performance is always going to be the most flamboyant.
With appearances from Nessie and a group of vampires, this is a show with something for everyone. Wide smiles, cheery songs and constant groan-inducing jokes combine to offer a fine start to the festive season…just watch out for that giant spider behind you…
Review by Jonathan Melville
Sleeping Beauty runs until Saturday 3 January at Musselburgh’s Brunton Theatre.