Review: Sleeping Beauty at Brent town hall

Amateur Dramatic group The Chameleons give a funny, fast paced performance

The Chameleons amateur dramatics society’s Christmas panto of Sleeping Beauty is silly, raucous, and above all funny – ticking all the boxes it should.

It begins with the Dame Nanny Nelly, played by Ben Parker, who tells the tale of the beautiful Sleeping Beauty and her childhood sweetheart, the handsome and brave Prince Opal.

Our story begins with the three good fairies being invited to the princess’s christening.

Resplendent in sparkly costumes and flashing wands which proved a hit with the girls in the crowd, the fairies included the geeky bespectacled Saphire, the streetwise Amber, and the mother hen of the troupe, Emerald.

But the celebrations are scuppered by the evil fairy Amethyst, who descends on the palace determined to kill the princess and spread despair.

Ben Parker gives a stand up performance as the Dame. Standing at well over 6ft in his comedy heels, Parker is camp, silly, and fantastic and getting the audience involved.

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And the evil fairy is brilliantly played by Nikki Amory, whose sassy self confidence brings the role to life.

Strong performances are also put in by our leading man and lady, played by Gemma Holloway and Michelle Edwards, and the motley crew of half human, half animal palace guards (aptly named colonel cat, sergeant snail, captain chameleon, private pig and privates weasel and wolf).

Among the many highlights of the show were the big song numbers, especially those which included the young chorus of children.

It is no mean feat to choreograph routines performed by around 30 children and the adult cast, and plaudits must go to Hannah Bain and her assistant Lauren Spoule for a job very well done.

I particularly enjoyed the emerald demons that leapt cross the stage during the final battle between good and bad fairies, and provided the scene with real dynamism.

The writing, by Robert Spolander and Radnor Everett, is spot on. Hilariously funny with plenty of references to pop stars like Cheryl Cole and Beyonce which got the audience giggling.

Meanwhile, the costumes were beautifully designed, and add lashings of colour to the stage.

Running at around two and a half hours, with a healthy twenty minute interval in the middle, the performance has a momentum which ensures that any children in the audience never restless or bored, and makes the performance an ideal family night out.

Sleeping Beauty runs until Sunday 16, and is performed at Brent Town Hall, in Forty Lane, Wembley. Call the box office on 0208 123 6443