Sleeping Beauty at the West Yorkshire Playhouse
Drawing above by Niamh.
My daughter Niamh (aged 9, very nearly 10), my son Fergal (aged 7) and I went to see Sleeping Beauty because we’d offered to do a review for Culture Vultures and the West Yorkshire Playhouse. I had to kind of drag them there, for reasons that will become apparent later on. Fergal refused to have anything to do with a review (though he LOVED all the slapstick and really enjoyed himself, and that despite a resolution in the car on the way there to absolutely not have ANY fun) so Niamh and I recorded a conversation we had, whilst doing homework and making paper-chains, about seeing the production. Here it is transcribed and only a little bit edited…
Alison: So Niamh we went to see Sleeping Beauty yesterday, what did you think it was going to be like before we got there?
Niamh:I thought it was going to be a bit babyish and rubbish, but it turned out alright, yeah. It was very funny, very funny. That’s my main point, yeah.
A: What did you think were the funniest bits?
N: Umm, all the bits with Nana Noo Noo in. She was very funny, he/she was very funny. Umm yeah they were my favourite bits.
A: Do you want to ask me some questions?
A: I think you should, it’ll make it more interesting.
N: (embarrassed giggle) I can’t think of any. You just say, just say stuff. Random things.
A: OK then. I liked the songs. I thought the songs were …
N: They were cool, yeah.
A: … really good and I think they made it more interesting for the little children. D’you think?
N: Yeah, I agree. If they’d just been talking all the time it might have got a bit boring for the little children. Oh yeah and when they got people to come and give the baby to the king and hold the baby, they really got the audience into the story.
A: They got really involved didn’t they? Would you have liked to have been sitting at the front?
N: No (said emphatically). Certainly not.
A: What about the dancing at the end?
N: That was good, yeah.
A: Would you have liked to get on stage at the end?
N: No. Noooo.
A: But you thought it was good that other people got the chance to do it?
N: Yep, definitely. Especially the little kids.
A: What did you think about the set?
N: That was cool. Very well done. Like the people in the top hiding and dropping things down. And I liked it when they kept on knocking the bag over by accident and showing the trap-door.
A: Yes that was funny. I think Fergal thought they were managing to store an awful lot of stuff in that bag. Did you know there was a trap door underneath?
N: Yeah, it was kind of obvious if you’re my age.
A: Yes I suppose, do you think younger children would think that was like magic?
N: Maybe, if Fergal thought it. He’s older than them.
PAUSE while the homework got a bit tricky.
A: What about the way they told the story. Did you know the fairy tale?
A: (slighty incredulous) Did you not know that one already?
N: Nope. Neither Rapunzel.
A: You didn’t know Rapunzel either?
Pause while Alison contemplates parental lapses
A: So, do you think they told it in a straightforward way?
N: They did edit the original story a bit.
A: Did you know what the changes were?
N: Well, they made it funnier and a bit more like a pantomime. And the bit at the end when the prince was going to kiss her was much better.
A: Yes, it would be a bit odd if you’d been asleep for 100 years and you woke up getting kissed by someone you’d never met before.
A: So does it make you want to be actress?
N: Yes I’d love to act in that kind of thing, where people just laugh at you if you get it a little bit wrong and you can make it funny.
A: Do you think they went wrong a lot?
N: No, not at all, I think they got it totally right. Almost. Apart from showing the trap door.
A: But that was funny wasn’t it. Sometimes when things go wrong it can be even funnier. The bunting fell off as well didn’t it, when they were raising it up for the party?
N: I thought that was meant to happen. They made that really funny.
A: Well, that’s what really good actors can do when something goes a little bit wrong. Make it funny and make it look like it was supposed to be that way all along.
N: So, what age group do you think you would recommend Sleeping Beauty for?
A: Well probably 5 or 6, or younger. But if you were a big brother or sister or something and you had to go with the rest of your family, you’ll probably really enjoy it too because it’s so funny.Tags: Sleeping Beauty, wyplayhouse