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Doha Players' 'Sleeping Beauty' pantomime leaves audience in splits.

Ailyn Agonia DOHA AN entertaining version of animated musical fantasy 'Sleeping Beauty', with some reference to local happenings such as Doha Metro and grocery shops brought the house down when it was staged at the Qatar National Convention Centre on Wednesday. The family-oriented production was the first of the five shows of Doha Players' latest pantomime (panto) written and directed by Angela Walton. Narrated by characters called Pantoloon played by musician and actress Kirsty McDonald and Pantomime played by public speaker and panto first-timer Shareef Mihlar, the more than two-hour production was highlighted with stories from other pantos, colourful costumes and moving performances, such as the danceable music 'I Like To Move It' performed by all the cast led by characters from computer-animated comedy film 'Madagascar'. At the core of the production is still the familiar plot of how the dashing Prince Charming saved the beautiful Princess Aurora after being put into a deep slumber along with the rest of the palace as a result of a curse of evil fairy Maleficent. Prince Charming was played by Clare Marlow while Princess Aurora was played by Holy Williams. Maleficent was brought to life by Doha Players veteran Trish Slade. Among the most notable characters in the panto also include the quirky, yet amusing, head chef at the palace called Cookie played by Kerry Suek, the intense King Arthur played by Thomas Walton and Queen Catherine played by 15-year Doha resident Heather Lang. The show wrapped up with a remarkable performance of a song from the American musical biographical drama film 'The Greatest Showman' by the cast led by Walton. "The first panto I directed was 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' with a script written by my Mom. Two decades later, I get to write and direct 'Sleeping Beauty Pantomime'. This has been so much fun, but without the passion and commitment of this wonderful cast of almost 50 people, 'Sleeping Beauty' would have slept for 100 years. The cast, aged six years and up, have made this story come alive. The dedication, discipline and laughter during rehearsals has been appreciated. I cannot thank everyone enough for making my vision come alive," said Walton in a statement. In another statement, Doha Players Chairman Elaine Potter said, "Sleeping Beauty panto rehearsals began in September and it has been a pleasure to be part of the production team who have volunteered many hours and had to balance their day jobs and family life with rehearsals and planning for this wonderful spectacle." Other characters in the production are: Aaron Spencer (Dick), Kaylen Maynard (Nobby), Pranav Sharma (NIblet), Rebecca Page (Dandini) and Ava Merriweather (King Julian/ Jester). While the circle of fairies are Ghita ElMernissi, Alexia Demosthenous, Bilquis Khan, Hannah Marella, Kristina Cheffins, Choloe Daniel, Cristina Waiter, Lois Nelson, Lucy McLaren, Nisha Christie and Sofia Aleksic. The heroes behind the scenes include, Music Director Steve Rich, Vocal Director Gail Nicholson, choreographers Greta Smith Aeby and Kristina Cheffins, Stage Manager Amanda Patterson, Assistant Stage Manager Caroline Atherton, Set building by James Honey, Sounds by Stuart Walton and Lighting by Jerome Marella. Live music was provided by Dan Pardy, Steve Rich, Sarah Sevenbergen, Scott Skanes, Zeo Thiessen, Andrew Woodhouse and Philip Wren. Sleeping Beauty Pantomime will be on show until February 8.

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Publication:Qatar Tribune (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Feb 7, 2020
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