Anita Dobson may be billed as the star of the Waterside’s Christmas panto, Sleeping Beauty, but Aylesbury’s own Andy Collins stole the show at Monday night’s performance.
As Chester the Jester he had the audience on their feet dancing, waving their arms in the air and squealing with laughter as he and two accomplices ran amok with water pistols, writes Heather Jan Brunt.
This is not to deny the performance of Dobson who was simply sensational, portraying the wicked fairy Carabosse with relish in her sparkling purple and black long sleeved velvet gown.
The former EastEnders and Strictly Come Dancing star had the audience in the palm of her hand, encouraging them to boo and hiss at her throughout the show.
Unlike some panto stars this lovely lady didn’t pull any diva punches and allowed everyone on stage to shine. She gave the impression of being a real team player and got stuck into everything thrown at her, including plenty of singing and dancing and several references to her rock star husband, Queen’s Brian May.
The Waterside has achieved a real corker this year, a panto filled with simply exquisite costumes, sparkling backdrops and really funny lines.
There were plenty of local references, with Chester introducing his sidekicks ‘Ant and Dec’ during The Twelve Days of Christmas with the line: “They’ve been working on the roads in Aylesbury for the past 100 years, putting in traffic lights. Any chance of a bypass?”
And what a blessing it was to have a hero Prince (Danish actor and singer Christian Lund) who not only looks gorgeous, but understands the meaning of panto and has the most beautiful speaking and singing voice (unlike Gary Lucy three years ago who, performing in Cinderella, looked embarrassed and awkward to be on the stage).
Due to the storyline Sleeping Beauty herself did not have a huge part, but when Holly Brewer was on stage she fulfilled all the necessary requirements of a pantomime princess – she was beautiful, sweet, had a lovely singing voice and fell in love with her handsome prince,
Graham Kent as Nurse Molly Coddle fulfilled all expectations of a pantomime dame, appearing in gaudy wigs and costumes.
David Whitworth as the deaf King and Linda Bardell as his exasperated Queen appeared devoted to their daughter, and Frankie Armitage as the Lilac Fairy deserves praise for her beautiful singing voice.