According to my 15-year-old daughter Poppy, who was diagnosed with autism, the holiday season is more about pantomimes than presents.
When she found out she would go to the laid-back performance of Sleeping Beauty at De Montfort Hall after Christmas – Covid willing – it gave her something to look forward to after the big day.
There’s a lot more that venues need to be aware of in terms of safety, so we were delighted that the management of the entire performance felt very safe.
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We had our Covid Pass checks before entering the building and bag controls were straightforward upon entering. We picked up our tickets at the box office with no queues and although the venue was full the staff did an excellent job of navigating people around the building so as not to cause disruption.
On our way to our seats, we discovered a sensory toy table where Poppy had the opportunity to choose a free sensory toy which really helped her keep her busy during the performance.
We made our way upstairs and were quickly served at the kiosk before taking our seats.
The whole atmosphere in the venue felt very relaxed as the staff showed us to our seats. We were pleased to find that the lights remained dimmed throughout the performance.
The show was easy to follow and my daughter got involved at appropriate times, mostly by booing the wicked fairy Carabosse, who was excellently characterized by Wendi Peters.
She loved all of the characters, but her favorites were Fairy Phoenix, played by Maddie Moate and Jarred the Jester, played by Jarred Christmas – she enjoyed screaming every time they took the stage.
The volume was just right, and the music made Poppy dance to every tune in her seat, desperate to get up and dance and not have to be asked twice when the audience was asked to do just that in the second half.
Poppy’s favorites were the old classics – the ghost scene – she loved to join in when the audience shouted “behind you”! and 12 days of Christmas – especially if they have ‘5 toilet paper!’ had to scream.
The plot was well told and easy to understand for all ages. Matthew Pomeroy and Natasha Lamb were just perfect as Prince Pablo and Princess Rosa.
The scenery was wonderful and the lighting was amazing – we particularly liked the disco ball effect that lights up the ceiling.
The magic tricks were brilliant and really made the show stand out.
This pantomime has it all – fun, jokes, magic, brilliant songs and great dance performances. Congratulations to everyone involved – a great show in a really relaxed setting.
Sleeping Beauty is in De Montfort Hall until Monday, January 3rd.
Tickets £ 15.75 – £ 21