Tag Archives: Anthony Spargo

Sleeping Beauty


Greenwich Theatre

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

Greenwich Theatre

Reviewed – 11th December 2019



“an incredibly rich and vibrant affair that will fill you with a sense of well-being while making you laugh again and again”


Every year Andrew Pollard brings his remarkable pantomime to Greenwich Theatre, and every year it surprises and delights. The stories may change, but the essence remains the same – a hilarious and audacious roller-coaster of a show. Sleeping Beauty is another great victory for this supremely talented writer, actor and director.

Forget the usual panto formula. While Pollard clearly loves the genre and pays homage to its key elements – not least, by embodying the archetypal Dame – his take on the form is refreshingly different and he makes Sleeping Beauty work on multiple levels. For children, it’s excitingly full of colour, adventure and impressive pyrotechnic effects, with appealing interactive moments – such as being handed magic moon rocks and urged to throw them at the stage. For adults, it’s a feast of cheeky wit with a very funny script that weaves in local and topical references (Plumstead, Blackheath, Nigel Farage, Prince Andrew) alongside plenty of daft innuendo. It’s a treat to watch the actors trying to make each other laugh, going off-piste and breaking the fourth wall.

The scenes are interspersed with – and often built around – wonderful pop music. There are adaptations of songs by The Beatles, Chic, Boney M and The Proclaimers, among others, played live and loud by the small in-house band led by Musical Director ‘Uncle’ Steve Markwick.

The story veers wildly away from the classic fairytale, but just about retains enough of the key elements to justify the title. Ewan and Anastasia, the young couple at the centre of the plot, are confidently played by Regan Burke and Esme Bacalla-Hayes. Theirs is not a typical boy-meets-girl situation. With the help of a kindly fairy, Ewan finds himself transported from the London of 1969 to the Russia of 1869. Masquerading as ‘Major Thomas’ – you can see the David Bowie connection a mile off, and sure enough they include ‘Space Oddity’ as one of the songs – he falls in love with the daughter of Tsar Ivan the Slightly Irritable. But Anastasia is bewitched and left to sleep for 100 years by the evil villain Rasputin. The ‘mad monk’ is wonderfully brought to life by the ultra-charismatic Anthony Spargo, who knows exactly how to get the audience hissing at him and his dastardly plans.

Quickly dispensing with familiar Sleeping Beauty motifs, the narrative races off into a gloriously ridiculous saga about travelling through time and space, plus a thread about Greenwich Theatre itself as way of celebrating its 50th anniversary. Indeed, Ewan is based on Ewan Hooper, a real-life local actor who saved the theatre from demolition in the 1960s.

One of the highlights of each annual pantomime is the spectacle of Andrew Pollard’s outlandish costumes, which defy gravity and belief, so special credit must go to the team of wardrobe designers. Utterly inspired visuals in which adults are turned into babies also support several moments of comedy that go beyond merely funny or clever to approach a sort of surreal high art.

Only one criticism: at times the music is too loud and drowns out the dialogue. It’s not the sort of show in which you need to hear every word, but it is a shame that a few of the jokes are lost for this reason.

That point aside, this is an incredibly rich and vibrant affair that will fill you with a sense of well-being while making you laugh again and again.


Reviewed by Stephen Fall

Photography by Robert Day


Sleeping Beauty

Greenwich Theatre until 12 January


Previously reviewed at this venue:
One Last Waltz | ★★★ | March 2018
Eigengrau | | August 2018
Outrageous Fortune | ★★★ | May 2019
Skin in the Game | ★★★★ | July 2019


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Alice’s Adventures Underground – Casting

Les Enfants Terribles and ebp in association with Creature of London are delighted to announce the cast of “ALICE’S ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND” which returns to The Vaults at Waterloo from 15 April 2017.

The cast of “ALICE’S ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND” will be comprised of Richard Booth (BFG, Goosebumps Live), Farrell Cox (The Lost Carnival, Penguin! Elephant,), Dominic Creasey (Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs 2), Matthew Crouzieres (The Game’s Afoot, Back To The Future with Secret Cinema, Alice’s Adventures Underground), Jack Dorning (Hansel and Gretel, Mermaid) Emily Essery (OSLO, GO SOLO), David Frias-Robles (Cornwall vs China, The Beast), Alex Gilbert (The Fitzrovia Radio Hour’s Christmas Special, Daisy Pulls It Off), Mathew Hamper (Once, The Scarecrow’s Wedding), Nicholas Hart (Hand To God, War Horse, Alice’s Adventures Underground), Philippa Hogg (The Vaudevillians, The Forever Machine), Richard Holt (Partners in Crime, The Pillowman), Lydia Hourihan (The Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie), Sam Hoye (Monstersaurus!, The Night Before Christmas), Michael Humphreys (The Good Earth, Little Shop of Horrors), Kojo Kamara (King Lear).

Max Krupski (The Emperor Jones, Blast Off!), Robert Lightfoot (Don’t Touch Me, Before The Fall, Alice’s Adventures Underground), Emma Maclennan (Room on the Broom, The BFG), Elizabeth Mary-Williams (The Thinning Veil, The Selfish Giant), Jonathan Mathews (The D List, Bridget Jones’ Baby, The Frontier Trilogy), Miranda Menzies (Wallace, Romeo and Juliet), Michele Moran (Beyond The Fence, A Little Night Music), Alice Morgan Richards (China Doll: A Neuropera in Four Seasons), Olivia Nakintu (Antigone, Romeo and Juliet), Rhys Owen (Dick!, Our House), Will Palmer (Hell Yes I’m Tough Enough, Wesley), Alan Pearson (One Man, Two Guvnors, My Girl), Zara Plessard (How Not To Sink, Half A Sixpence national tour), Marah Stafford (Back To The Future with Secret Cinema, Joyce: The Golden Needle, Alice’s Adventures Underground), Tom Syms (Back To The Future and Dr Strangelove with Secret Cinema and The Game’s Afoot, Alice’s Adventures Underground), Kyle Taylor (The Smurfs Live Tour, In The Night Garden live), Deborah Tracey (Fee Fi Fo Fum [BBC], A Mad World My Masters), Meghan Treadway (War Horse, The 24 Hour Plays: Old Vic New Voices), Maxwell Tyler (The Bear, From Dusk Till Dawn), Marta Vella (The Bacchae, Calendar Girls), and Hemi Yeroham (Romeo and Juliet, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes).

Also returning as The Mock Turtle, composer of the original song ‘The Mock Turtle’s Lament’, Alexander Wolfe.

This unmissable immersive production was the hit of summer 2015, welcoming over 100,000 visitors and culminating in a 2016 Olivier Award nomination for Best Entertainment and Family Show. “ALICE’S ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND” was originally conceived as a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s classic novel of the same name – it will play a limited season from 15 April 2017 – 23 September 2017, with press night on 25 April 2017. Ticket prices range from £39.00 to £71.50 (£31.50 – £54.00 during previews); and there are a limited number of tickets for £25 for under 26’s at the first performance on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the run.

Also returning is the bespoke children’s show, “ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND” for those aged 5 to 10 from 13 May 2017 – 3 September 2017. Casting for this will be announced at a later date.

Audiences experience immersive theatre in spectacular detail in this interactive, puppetry-packed, fusion of storytelling, music and circus deep below Waterloo station. Audience members are invited down the rabbit hole in intimate groups, where they will be presented with a choice of EAT ME or DRINK ME, which will affect the way their show will unfold… Make your choice and find yourself at the centre of the story as you wander through Wonderland, piecing together the puzzle to search for Alice who is lost in the looking glass.

“ALICE’S ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND” is written by Oliver Lansley and Anthony Spargo and directed by Oliver Lansley and James Seager.




Full details at:





Photography by Jason Joyce