PAIGNTON Pantomime Productions are gearing up for their production of Sleeping Beauty.
The story of the girl cursed to sleep for 100 years and awoken by a kiss from her prince has been great panto subject matter for years, although it has only become popular again in recent years.
This year's cast features some new faces in the line-up along with some of the regular cast members. The leading comedy roles are taken by newcomers this year.
Jolyon Tuck (better known for his appearances at the Little Theatre) plays Dame Dottie in his own inimitable style — very naughty but nice.
Alongside him as Muddles is Reece Williams, who has performed with various youth groups and at the Princess Theatre in their panto.
Catherine Hutchinson plays Fairy Lilac and Simon Hands plays the King. Both are brand new to PPP.
Nic Heath, normally associated with the comedy roles, this year plays the Prince, opposite Georgina Johnson who last appeared as principal girl when she played Cinderella a few years ago.
Husband and wife team of Colin and Rae Gilderthorp appear once again as the comic duo. Another regular who is playing a slightly different type of role this year is Hazel Laugee. She normally takes to the stage in a variety of comedy roles, but has always wanted to play the wicked witch and she gets her chance this year. Glenys Oates takes promotion from the chorus to appear as the Queen. No pantomime would be complete with its dancers and chorus.
This year's auditions for the junior babes had one of the largest turn outs for years and two large teams of babes will alternate performances.
Then there are the dancers, backed by a large chorus to form a company of almost 40.
The on-stage performers will be backed by John Amery's lively pit band.
The same production team of Iain Douglas, director, Elaine Johnson and Amanda Coote, Choreography, and John Amery, MD, have once again been in charge of the production. This will be their 11th production together as a team.
Rehearsals for the show started in mid-October. Last year's panto attracted more than 4,200 people, which is a large number for a local amateur show, and this year's show is budgeted at £43,000.
No expenses will be spared on the glittering costumes, all of which will have come down from Birmingham, and there are a number of special additions to the scenery.
Colin and Rae Gilderthorp, as well as appearing on stage, have worked hard to build such things as a real spinning wheel, a clock mechanism, a giant dragon with flapping wings, and various other special effects.
Audiences can expect the usual panto traditions and also a few things which are slightly different, especially at the start of the show.
This year the society are supporting the Anode charity which runs food banks across the Bay, a local charity and audience members will be asked to donate something to that charity if they wish.
The show runs from Saturday until January 4.