REVIEW (From a Distance): Sleeping Beauty? (Tea Break Theatre)

Sunday got off to a shaky start as we woke to the dreaded text from school informing us that Crotchet was now in isolation until Boxing Day! Thankfully Tea Break Theatre were there to save the day, with their interactive, online show Sleeping Beauty?

Far from a traditional telling of the tale, this Sleeping Beauty is the story of Prince (Chris Dobson) (not a Prince, just a normal bloke called Prince who’s not so sure he really wants to be a hero) and Rose (Alicia McKenzie) (who is a Princess but prefers not to be called that, and just wants to go off on adventures) in their battle against dream-gobbling Dreaver (who is very definitely a villain but who exactly are they?) Thanks to the curse of a disgruntled fairy, Rose has been trapped in the tallest tower of a castle (of course!) for the last seven years while her family sleep downstairs. It’s up to Prince (with a little help from the audience) to summon up his inner hero and travel to her world to break the curse and set Rose free.

Performed from the individual homes of the actors and beamed into our homes via the magic of Zoom, it’s not the most sophisticated use of this technology we’ve seen this year but it still has the crucial element of audience participation that makes Zoom the munchkins’ favourite way of watching shows from home. Getting them to pack bags ahead of the show, ready for the adventure, was a nice touch which got them invested in the action before it even began. And as ever, they loved seeing themselves on the screen and hearing the actors use their names.

The story itself is good fun, featuring an array of amusing dream characters who Prince meets on his way to Rose’s tower, including Rose’s imaginary friend Evie (Felicity Sparks). Our favourite was Arabelcha the cook (Molly Small), whose secret ingredients will leave your stomach churning. At its heart there is an important moral about following your dreams and questioning the rules. And without needing to make direct reference to Covid-19 it also feels very relevant, with Rose isolated in her tower and eventually being faced with a dilemma about whether to remain isolated for the sake of others – Something almost every household will be able to relate to, particularly if they in the position that we were when we watched!

Suitable for ages 4-9 it’s a good opportunity to bring the magic of live theatre into your home and feel connected to others at a time when this is needed the most.

Tickets: Ensuring theatre is accessible for all families this Christmas, Tea Break Theatre will be using a ‘pay  what you can’ ticketing system, where low cost and free tickets are available for those who need  them most. 

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