When it comes to tickling our funny bones for the festive season, pantomimes don’t come much more hilarious than the Belgrade Theatre’s seasonal offering.
And, despite having a lot to live up to, this year’s hilarity is just as raucous thanks to the slapstick superiority of local comedy favourites Iain Lauchlain and Craig Hollingsworth.
Leading the way as dame Nanny McWheeze and the palace jester Muggles in Sleeping Beauty, this tried and tested stage pairing has audiences howling with laughter at every opportunity
And they’re ably assisted by the rest of the talented cast and crew from Imagine Theatre who continue to churn out panto mania at its best.
They take the traditional story of a princess stricken to a deep sleep for 100 years by the evil spell of the panto villain, and sprinkle it with contemporary jokes and references which are particularly appreciated by the younger audience members.
Laura Judge prompted plenty of boos and hisses as dastardly Carabosse whose wicked intent was happily thwarted in the end by our band of heroes in the guises of Lauchlain, Hollingsworth and Joanna Thorne (Prince Valiant).
Stand-out moments range from the stunning special effects conjured up for the dragon fight scene through to the comedy highlights of the exquisitely executed musical number If I Were Not In Panto. (Timing was everything here!) But it was the fantastically farcical (and messy) cake decorating scenes that really got our sides splitting – I’m not sure that the hapless audience member who was central to the jokes appreciated it quite as much as the rest of us however -which only made it even funnier!
All in all, another triumph for the Belgrade with a pantomime as hilarious as we’ve now come to expect from multi-talented writer, director and actor Lauchlain and his team.
I’m already looking forward to next year.
Sleeping Beauty plays at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry until 5th January and tickets are available at: www.belgrade.co.uk