Tag Archives: Chris Lane

Sleeping Beauty Takes a Prick!


Charing Cross Theatre



“a fabulously silly night out of innuendo, double entendres and tongue twisting rhymes”

Pantomime is one of Britain’s most enduring Yuletide traditions. Its origins go back to 16th century Italian Commedia dell’Arte although, as with most Christmas traditions, it was much improved upon by the Victorians. You can see the century’s old traditions of gender swapping in the grand old dames and evidence of when performers weren’t allowed to speak in its physical comedy. He’s Behind You!, a new production company from the team behind pantos of yore at Above The Stag theatre, take panto to the next logical conclusion, turning the camp up to 11 with a no holds barred, totally gay panto in ‘Sleeping Beauty Takes a Prick!’

Welcome to Slutvia! A lesser-known eastern European state, home to Prince Charming and Queen Gertrude who are welcoming their first born baby and now heir to the throne to the nation’s Sluts. This is all much to the dismay of Prince Camembert, Prince Charming’s sassy younger brother who is now out of the line of succession. Prince Camembert’s curse, that a prick will kill the young boy before he comes of age, is modified by the fairy godmother so that he will only croak if pricked from behind. Skip forward to days before the prince turns 21 and, of course, hilarity ensues.

It’s an uproarious production, satirically written by Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper but largely carried by the comedic performances of Matthew Baldwin as the fabulous Queen Gertrude, whose difficulty for remembering names and catch phrase of ‘don’t correct me’ got funnier each time, and Chris Lane as the villainously bitchy Prince Camembert.

“Costumes by Sandy Lloyd and Robert Draper are impressively extravagant”

The whole cast are enthusiastically panto with surprising musical chops. Daisy the distracted Fairy Godmother, played by Jordan Stamatiadis, and Myrtle/Maria, played by Nikki Biddington, both have strong vocal performances – surpassing expectations for a panto of this scale. The real surprise vocally however, is Matthew Gent as Josef/Jonas whose sweet lovelorn duet with Nikki Biddington is revealing of his West End credentials.

The original music and lyrics by Jon Bradfield are a real highlight and the show could have benefitted from more. The opening number, ‘Welcome to Slutvia’, really sets the tone for what’s to come; an interlude in the song ‘At the Races’ sending up ‘Cats’ really tickled the musical buffs in the audience; and ‘Meet Me in the Garden’ at the end of the second act, sets up the most squirm inducing moment of the show.

Costumes by Sandy Lloyd and Robert Draper are impressively extravagant, especially for Queen Gertrude in their Art Deco glamour and, occasionally, ability to spray bodily fluids. David Shields’ set also seems to spare no expense with an inordinate number of scene changes. Where set and props are lower budget they are intentionally the butt of the joke, all in the spirit of panto.

If you’re looking for a fabulously silly night out of innuendo, double entendres and tongue twisting rhymes without kiddies throwing lightsabers about, this show will hit the spot.


Reviewed on 29th November 2023

by Amber Woodward

Photography by Danny Kaan



Previously reviewed at this venue:

Rebecca | ★★★★ | September 2023
George Takei’s Allegiance | ★★★★ | January 2023
From Here To Eternity | ★★★★ | November 2022
The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore | ★★★ | October 2022
Ride | ★★★★★ | August 2022
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike | ★★★ | November 2021
Pippin | ★★★★ | July 2021

Sleeping Beauty Takes a Prick!

Sleeping Beauty Takes a Prick!

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Sh!t-faced Shakespeare® Much Ado About Nothing.

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing


Leicester Square Theatre



 Sh!t-faced Shakespeare® Much Ado About Nothing.

“It is utterly chaotic, but that’s the glory of it”


A staple of the Edinburgh fringe, the premise of Sh!t-faced Shakespeare is simple: it’s a traditional Shakespeare performance (with liberties taken for comic purposes, of course) where one performer is, for want of a better word, sh*t-faced. That performer rotates every night, as do the cast, and the roles. No two performances will ever be the same…

Don’t go to this if you’re expecting a genuine production of Much Ado, it’s more like a crazed improvised performance, with chunks of Shakespeare loosely hanging it together.

Luckily, the sober performers are also packing in the gags and the quick improv. There is a risk with the concept that when the drunk performer isn’t on stage, the audience is left merely watching a Shakespeare play, and maybe not a great performance of it. However, this is not the case with this troupe – a running bit about Benedick having chlamydia, quick one-liners about choir boys and priests, dragging an audience member into the fray – this cast (and director Stacey Norris) know what they’re doing and do it well.

It is utterly chaotic, but that’s the glory of it. When things go wrong (and they do, often) it is part of the fun. Mics cut out, parts of the set (designed by Nicola Jones) are thrown from the stage, costumes fall apart, it all makes it more ridiculous, and more joyous.

A crucial role is played by the compare, for us it was Beth-Louise Priestley, who is on hand to keep the show ticking over, much to the horror of the drunk performer (Flora Sowerby) who seems mostly to want to monologue about the beauty of beards. Priestley runs around, mopping up spills, gathering Sowerby back from the audience, where she’s escaped, and blowing an air horn when things get too messy. There are times when this isn’t enough, and the chaos takes over, people talking over one another and all aiming to grab the spotlight. Most of the time though, it works well. Very well.

Sowerby shines as a drunk Beatrice, but the rest of the cast are also very strong. Holly Durkin and Matthew Seager make a very sweet Hero and Claudio, and Chris Lane is a deliciously evil Don John. John Mitton is a particularly quick Benedick, who manages to keep character, even while delivering witty one-liners. Stacey Norris delights as Leonata, bringing a real joy and feminist flavour to a usually boring part.

7pm is quite early for this sort of show, it feels like it could’ve been in a later slot, but no one seems to mind and the roars from the audience demonstrate that even on a Wednesday at 7pm, people are very up for this.


Reviewed on 12th July 2023

by Auriol Reddaway

Photography by AB Photography


Leicester Sqaure Theatre


Previously reviewed at this venue:


Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet | ★★★★ | July 2022
A Pissedmas Carol | ★★★★★ | December 2021
Sh!t-Faced Macbeth | ★★★★★ | July 2021


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