They've done it again, Storybook Theatre have pulled it off and given us what we want and need - a dollop of warmth, a whole lot of loving and a major helping of FUN! I was more than happy to see this wonderful production for a second time and my granddaughters, Stella and Cynthia, wholeheartedly agreed with me.
From the off, a fetching royal bump (worn with great style by Laura Wolfe) heralded the news that a princess was about to be born. The King (Lucas Bailey) and Queen could not contain their excitement as they sang "We're Going to have a Baby!" Their unbridled joy at becoming new parents was palpable and we were delighted for them. When the song was finished, the Queen popped behind the sunshine yellow curtains, and very neatly gave birth.
An invitation was extended to the young folk to come up and lend a hand with the new babe, and very quickly the stage was flooded with willing helpers to assist in the changing of the royal diaper.
We all loved the new princess and feared en masse for her when, Morbid, (played beautifully and scarily by Bonnie Kalisher) predicted that the child, upon reaching the age of fifteen, would prick her finger and sleep for one hundred years (Oh no!) When the unthinkable happened and the princess nodded off, it was only the cookies and juice served in the intermission that kept our hopes alive.
Act Two allowed the '100 years pass' sign, to be paraded across the stage by young aides, and told us the arrival of a handsome prince was imminent. We had high hopes but our wishes didn't come true immediately. The prince had a song to sing first. He gave a fine rendition of "In Search of a Wife" and then spent a long time worrying over the kiss (I think the introduction of a breath freshening mint here would have added further anticipation!) The Prince (played earnestly and ditheringly by David P. Johnson) asked the children what he should do to combat his eternal loneliness. My youngest granddaughter, Cynthia, brought the house down with her response of "Well there's a princess right behind you!" And so there was. Sleeping Beauty was eventually kissed and upon wakening, gave us some wild dance moves. (Top marks to Kira Brannlun for the funky monkey business).
As ever, in the world of Storybook Theatre, we got our happy ending and everything fell into place, as we knew it would. The actors' performances assured us throughout that the family 'feel' to their show is real, and that our young ones are safe in their hands. The simplistic style and tone of the production are its strengths and I reiterate the comments made by Stella on the subject of good manners. Lines that appear to be 'throwaway' are important lessons to be learned and taken away.
Stella gave it a five-star rating and I agree with her. I believe it is the little ones' perspective of life in the 'Once upon a time' that we should heed. We are never too old to learn or take on board the adage of being kind to each other. And so in the spirit of this sterling production, I give a big THANK YOU to the cast and crew of "Sleeping Beauty", for their enchanting gift of a show. I wouldn't have missed it for the world, and neither would Stella or Cynthia.