REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty at Ferneham Hall, Fareham

Hear Say's Noel Sullivan plays Prince Valiant, Kay Purcell as Carabosse, Mark Siney as Nurse Nellie, David Dobson as Chester The Jester and Carol Heffernan as Belle
Hear Say's Noel Sullivan plays Prince Valiant, Kay Purcell as Carabosse, Mark Siney as Nurse Nellie, David Dobson as Chester The Jester and Carol Heffernan as Belle

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THE magical tale of a sleeping princess awoken by her true love has been brought to life in Fareham

Young and old packed out Ferneham Hall last night and were treated to more colour, sparkles and laughter than you could shake a fairy wand at. This year’s production of Sleeping Beauty told the story of Princess Belle – cursed at birth to prick her finger on a spinning jenny and fall asleep for a hundred years.

Starring this year was Hear’Say singer Noel Sullivan, whose singing voice was put to strong use as the brave Prince Valiant.

Alongside him was CBBC actress Kay Purcell – of Tracy Beaker fame – as Carabosse, with Mark Siney back by popular demand to play the dame Nurse Nellie.

Carol Heffernan played the show’s heroine Belle, while David Dobson took on the role of the lovable Chester the Jester.

In true pantomime style, the audience were treated to an evening of hilarious laughs, fun and a few light-hearted digs at neighbouring Gosport along the way.

For entertainment value the stars of the piece were without doubt the hilarious pairing of Chester and Nellie, and it was clear to see why Siney has become a favourite at Ferneham Hall.

Playing a dame may be one of the more challenging roles in panto, but Siney’s performance clearly delighted fans, judging by the reception at the end of the night.

This show had everything a panto needs – the beautiful princess, the evil fairy, and of course the constant danger of those in the front seats getting slightly wet.

One of those in the audience was five-year-old Jessica-Mae Gell, from Gosport.

She said: ‘I liked the wedding bit at the end. My favourite character was the princess.’

Speaking after the show, Noel said: ‘The audience has been getting really involved and I think it’s going to be a good run. There are more ridiculous characters than mine but it is quite nice to play a part like this.’