Panto script written Once Upon A Dream

The cast of The Addams Family at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

REVIEW: The Addams Family at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

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Everyone is familiar with the panto formula: a dash of he’s behind you, a pinch of fairytale and a sprinkling of song and dance.

Everyone is familiar with the panto formula: a dash of he’s behind you, a pinch of fairytale and a sprinkling of song and dance.

The good fairies get dance partners in Bench Theatre's Sleeping Beauty.

The good fairies get dance partners in Bench Theatre's Sleeping Beauty.

But the Bench Theatre have concocted their own recipe for their production of Sleeping Beauty.

From December 4-13, the company take over the Spring Arts Centre in Havant, and singing and dancing take a back seat to comedy.

The show is penned by award-winning writer Mark Wakeman from Emsworth, who wrote the Bench’s last two pantos, Cinderella and Aladdin.

Mark, 42, says: ‘Some friends sent me a panto script to read last year and it was 40 pages punctuated with “insert song here” and “insert dance routine here”.

‘I have had to write 80 pages of solid jokes because we are not a singing or dancing company.’

He also plays one half of narrating duo the Brothers Grimmer alongisde Dan Finch, whose exploits frame the story.

Mark eats, breathes and dreams panto – literally.

‘I said I wasn’t going to write another panto but I had a really vivid dream of the opening sequence where me and Dan are mucking around. I couldn’t get it out of my head.

‘Sleeping Beauty has never been my favourite because the princess is asleep most of the time, and I find it odd that the prince has never met her and has to kiss her. But I have played with the story to create humour. For example, Sleeping Beauty gets picked up and thrown around while she is asleep.’

Drama teacher Jessi Wilson, 25, from Fratton, plays the consciously-challenged Princess Aurora.

‘It has been great in catching up on my sleep,’ she says. ‘With it being a comedy the cast will do anything to make me laugh so it is very hard to keep a straight face.

‘It is actually quite punishing because it is so unnaturalistic. My head lolls when I’m being picked up but I have to be in total control of my body.’

Tickets: £9, concessions £8, family £28.

For a performance schedule visit thespring.co.uk. To watch their rehearsals, visit portsmouth.co.uk/video