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Gillian Elisa
Sleeping Beauty




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© Gillian Elisa 2004 - 2010

The Riverfront Theatre Newport in association with The Hiss and Boo Company

Sleeping Beauty
Imagine a huge many tiered sponge cake decorated with pink icing, covered with multi-coloured Smarties and bursting with whipped cream filling, then you will get some idea of the tremendous delight provided for children from three to three hundred and three by this year’s Riverfront pantomime, the eternal romantic fairy story of Sleeping Beauty. And it is a real story, captivatingly told by this excellent cast of very fine actors.

The lively band under the direction of Julian Tucker gets us all off to a sprightly start and we are soon greeted by the scrumptious Fairy Blodwen in her glittering gown. Gillian Elisa’s fairy is like some warm hearted head mistress; she soon has us all comfortably under the control of her magic wand and with her clear and powerful singing voice, a piece of magic on its own, she welcomes us to the Market Place in Newportalot. But our joy is soon burst apart by the appearance from the other side of the stage of The Riverfront’s, now regular, baddie, the every so very nasty, well not quite so nasty Brian Hibbard who soon has the whole audience booing his nasty ways off the stage but we know he’ll be back .

We quietly join King Dafydd the Good and Queen Myfanwy for the christening of their new-born daughter The Princess Aurora, all does not go well; the evil Morgan the Bad ( Hibbard) condemns the new born babe to an awful fate but the good fairy intervenes and we’re off on the journey of this famous tale. This is a cast of real actor/singers who can become very believable and moving when the story requires it. There are many moments of simple beauty and delightful singing as things move on.

The enchanting blue eyed blond Jacqueline Kent looks the ideal princess and brings a strong youthful vitality to her singing with her tall dark and handsome, every inch, the desirable beau Prince Cedric Lostalot. Michael Luxton introduces him to us with a rock and roll number reminiscent of quite a different Prince and not to be outdone Hibbard enchants the older females in the audience with his hip swinging Elvis number. He is backed by his troupe of crows led by the acrobatic Francois Pandolfo and the full of fun children from nearby Newport schools.

No pantomime is complete with out its Dame and knockabout slap stick Comedy. Phylip Harries brings to the role of Nanny Thoroughgood some extraordinary physical shapes and even more extraordinary, wild and colourful costumes. The rapport his builds with his audience, both young and old is terrific. Like all this cast it is the warmth and joy of every moment on the stage that he conveys that gives this shows its superb Riverfront quality. His excellent, sometime sullen, young teenager side-kick Muddles, played by Andrew Beavis, another fine singer, also has all the kids in the palm of his hand raising, along with all the other exciting characters on stage, a well deserved enormous cheer.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

Gillian Elisa as Fairy Blodwen. Copyright - South Wales Argus


The Riverfront premiered its sparkling 2008/9 pantomime Sleeping          Beauty last week, so don’t delay in booking your tickets for this magical feast of family entertainment!

With stunning sets, fabulous costumes, a host of comedy characters played by wonderful actors (Brian Hibbard, Gillian Elisa and Phylip Harries) and a fun packed script with toe tapping tunes, you are promised delightful family entertainment.

With lots of lively local lads and lasses as well: what more could you ask for?


Review by: South Wales Argus


This Princess Briar Rose is no shrinking violet, but a girl of real spirit. Roused from her century of sleep by a chaste kiss from her handsome Prince, she wrenches the sword Excalibur from the stone and fearlessly sets about slaughtering the fiery Welsh Dragon the evil wizard has metamorphosed himself into. This much cheered blow for feminism caps a most appealing performance by Jacquelyn Kent, well matched in romance and song by her suitor the Prince Cedric Lostalot of Michael Luxton.

In this strong-on-story and traditional routines staging by Ben Tyreman, comedy is in the more than capable hands of Andrew Beavis as Muddles the genial jester who takes on the guises of several comic strip superheroes, and Phylip Harries as Nurse Thoroughgood, a so buxom Dame as to make Dolly Parton look like Twiggy by comparison.

Brian Hibbard projects a powerful Morgan the bad boyo, drawing deafening audience responses that live up to the expectations of the aptly-named Hiss & Boo company.

Gillian Elisa scores as the bossy boots Fairy Blodwen who shepherds all in rhyme and song to the hand clapping Mamma Mia happy ending. The lively dances are choreographed by Carole Lloyd, the MD is Julian Tucker.

Review by Jon Holliday - © 2009 The Stage Newspaper Limited

Two Princes  |  Gillian Elisa with Jo's Heatwave  |  Peter and the Wolf  | Sleeping Beauty  |  Maenclochog  |  Peter Pan  |  Thomas Arms