Christmas isn’t Christmas until you’ve seen a pantomime, and LUU Pantomime Society have got us covered on that front once again. With all the slapstick humour, posh southern jibes and drag queens you could ever dream of, Sleeping Beauty (Untucked) – an original pantomime – is just what the doctor ordered this end of the bleak autumn term.
We’ve all been invited to Sleeping Beauty’s big 2-1. Right in the heart of Chelsea, anyone who is anyone is invited, except that ghastly Melissa Fant of course. But don’t you worry, this tale is certainly not as old as time, with the writers taking it upon themselves to freshen things up and get down and dirty with the humour. And so ensues a number of quests to save true friendship, true love, and the Christmas spirit, with glitz, glamour and ambiguous gender and sexuality thrown in along the way.
This year’s cast was particularly strong, acting, dancing and singing to a high standard. There were some truly stellar performances, with perhaps the most noteworthy being that of Alice Prescott Brann (as the not-quite-so-edgy Edgy Girl Leeds Clover), who is only just beginning her career as an LUU star. Becky Downing, as the toxic Melissa Fant, showed off her skills not only in writing but in portraying a saucy villainess, and Sam Mccagherty’s rendition of Sweet Transvestite (in stockings, corset, hot pants and all) has potentially scarred me forever (in the best possible way, of course). Moreover, the choreography and ensemble were of a standard far above what I was expecting, and with a great selection of pop hits, new and old, it truly was a dancing and singing extravaganza.
My only real gripe – and its a fairly minor one – is that the show fell into the common Pantomime trap of trying to fit in one or ten jokes too many. Some scenes, such as those featuring the California bros, despite being momentarily funny, could have certainly been shorter for the show to pack a bit more of a punch. Having said that, you’d be mad to leave not belting Footloose at the top of your lungs, and with your sides aching from laughter. Cheesier than McDonalds festive cheese dippers, and at times more cringe-worthy than that distant relative’s sense of humour, the Pantomime Society’s Sleeping Beauty (Untucked) is riotously funny and resonates with students all too well.
Image: Rob Palin