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Ian Waller and his family enjoy a festive treat with the best panto in town!

Christmas is here which means panto time at the Theatre Royal is back – and this year, it’s an absolute cracker!

Sleeping Beauty stars EastEnders’ and West End star Neil McDermott as Prince Vincent, Bath favourite Jon Monie as Lester the Jester, EastEnders Nick Wilton as Dame Nanny Nora and Hollyoaks Sarah Jane Buckley as Fairy Snowfall. And across the board, the cast is just fantastic, delivering performances of real comedy and fun – just the thing for a pre-Christmas evening out!

From start to finish, Sleeping Beauty is comedy gold thanks to a top notch script by writer and silly man supreme, Jon Monie. The result is every inch a panto classic, with all of the traditions that you can imagine – oh yes there are – as well as new scenes and set pieces that will have you laughing in your seats.

Maisie Sellwood as Princess Rose (Photo Freia Turland)

As for the story… well, you probably know the basics. Just in case… Princess Rose (Maisie Sellwood) is soon to turn 18, which is particularly good news for her dad the King (David Pendlebury), who – with good reason – has been fretting about a curse placed on his daughter when she was a baby by the evil and particularly boo-worthy Caraosbose (Emma Norman) that means she’ll die before she turns 18 if pricked by the a needle on a spinning wheel.

Fortunately, who should arrive to look after but the handsome and slightly bonkers Prince Vincent from Worcestershire – “where they make the sauce” – to save the day.

Nick Wilton as Nanny Nora and Jon Monie as Lester the Jester (Photo Freia Turland)

And right from the off, the audience is treated to a wonderful evening of singing, dancing, water pistols, naughty jokes, a horse race, travelling through time, a giant dragon and even a couple of fart jokes! Not bad for Bath on a damp Friday evening!

When it comes to the performances, Neil McDermott as Prince Vince is panto perfection! Arriving on his trusty charger – actually, two halves of a coconut and a piece of string! – he is every inch the handsome, daring, witless hero! In no time he’s clowning, falling, grinning and fooling to wonderful effect, delivering a wonderful performance that had the audience in raptures.

Alongside him Maisie Sellwood as Princess Rose is for more than just a delicate flower. Instead she’s sassy, intelligent, brace and adventurous, all in all a thoroughly modern heroine albeit with a wonderful singing voice and a great stage presence.

Emma Norman as Carabosse (Photo Freia Turland)

Of course, every panto needs a baddy to boo and hiss, and Carabosse is about as bad as they come, determined to deal-in do-gooder Princess Rose and steal Prince Vincent for herself. Emma Norman makes a wonderful baddy, dressed in suitably wicked black – complete with horns – while heckling and laughing like a demented joker.

Throughout the silliness and storytelling is sublime, with jokes for all ages, including one of my favourites Princess Rose taking to Dame Nanny Nora about her upcoming birthday –

“Nanny, do you remember your 18th?”

“Yes, he was an Uber driver from Melksham!”

Sarah Jane Buckley as Fairy Snowfall with Ensemble and the Dorothy Coleborn School of Dance (Photo Freia Turland)

Add in great sets, a fantastic fairy, some surprise and very impressive special effects, plus the obligatory audience participation, and Sleeping Beauty is a ten out ten surefire family hit. We loved it!

Sleeping Beauty appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Thursday 7th December to Sunday 7th January. Tickets are on sale at the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 and online at