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Belgrade's Sleeping Beauty brilliant? Oh yes it is!

Sleeping Beauty, Belgrade Theatre, to Jan 5.

What a spectacular, sparkling, hilarious panto - a brilliant show, with every member of the cast excellent.

Writer and director Iain Lauchlan, who also stars as the hilarious Nanny Fanny McWheeze, is joined by the equally talented and incredibly funny Muddles the Jester, played by Craig Hollingsworth.

It’s a brilliant script and the audience - adults and kids alike - loved every moment. The timing and choreography are faultless, and the backstage crew have created a lovely sparkling land where this classic story takes place. The costumes glitter, and the special effects are breath-taking. It’s a traditional panto with all the usual “He’s behind you!” excitement, plenty of audience participation with lots of booing the evil Carabosse (Laura Judge) and cheering the good fairies led beautifully by Azurial (Anna Mitcham).

All the cast play their parts so well: Melissa Brown-Taylor is sweet and elegant as Princess Belle, and she has a lovely voice too. Good singing also from Prince Valiant (Joanna Thorne) who took the role of a proper, dashing, principal boy.

Great performances also by Vicky Field who played Queen Hyacinth, the Dance Captain and Grunge. Vicky really came into her own in the second half, proving what an excellent dancer she is.

This isn't a groan-at-the-jokes, kind of traditional panto. This is brilliantly written, it’s modern, exciting, very, very funny with not a single dull moment. I would happily watch it again, and so would the rest of the audience I would imagine, judging by the non-stop laughter and enthusiasm. The verdict of Sam Evans, aged eight: “It was good, really funny. I really liked Muggins the Jester and the dragon.”

And Sam’s brother, Brennan, 10, added: “My favourite bit was the slapstick scene. That was so funny.” I can honestly say this pantomime is an absolute winner and makes for a brilliantly entertaining evening that the entire family will love. For tickets go to: Photo by Robert Day.

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