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THEATER REVIEW: ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at People’s Light is a treat for everyone

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STORY WRITTEN BY FRANK BURD
For Digital First Media

People’s Light and Theater Company in Malvern, has a wonderful treat to begin every winter. On their stage, they present an original piece of theater with original music, based on an old tale that we all know. This year, it is the story of Sleeping Beauty, who lives with her family in the fictitious Paoli Shoals- a swamp. She is being hidden there to avoid the curse of an evil fairy.

PHOTO BY MARK GARVIN  Mark Lazar in "Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto."

PHOTO BY MARK GARVIN
Mark Lazar in “Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto.”

The swamp was once the home of a thriving music industry, but the King has banned all record players from it, lest his daughter Aurora (Ariana Sepulveda) accidentally prick her finger with the needle from a phonograph, and fall into a hundred-year sleep.
We all know what’s going to happen. In spite of all precautions, she’s doomed until the prince comes to rescue her. But this is not the simple story we know. This fantasy was written and directed by the amazingly talented Pete Pryor.
It is narrated in song by a slug, a crane, and a mudbug. The characters must not only deal with Chanteuse (Kim Carson), the evil fairy, but with a fallen- and very funny- Moon (Tabitha Allen) and a crazy Aunt Tikki (Susan McKey). Working with them to ward off the curse and to fight back is Mama C (Mark Lazar), padded to the hilt, as a good fairy.
It is not the story alone that propels the play. It’s the extraordinary energy of the cast. The pranks and slapstick incorporate so many other resources, from Laurel and Hardy to Star Wars. The songs are silly, but we love them anyway.
Particularly strong in the cast are the women. Sepulveda, is excellent as a kid with dreams that go far beyond any prince. As for the talented Carson, I was mesmerized, whenever she appeared. She was soooooo good and beautifully wicked. McKey’s versatility and Allen’s comic gestures also highlight the action. Director Pryor, who is a master of comedy himself, has created so many visual treats for the audience and has the cast to make it work.
The beginning is a tad slow, but once in high gear, “Sleeping Beauty” blazes through the night and uplifts the entire audience. And here is the curious part. I went in thinking it was going to be a kid’s play that adults might like. What I discovered was that it was a play for everyone that adults will love … and they need to take the kids too.

IF YOU GO

“Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto” will be on stage through Jan. 17 at People’s Light and Theater Co., 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern. For tickets and information, call 610-644-3500 or check www.peopleslight.org.

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