By Charles Way
Sleeping Beauty is published by Aurora Metro Press, together with Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, in The Classic Fairytales Retold for the Stage. These three re-workings have had multiple professional productions all over the world. They are not pantomimes: they are plays with developed characters and have proved hugely successful with all ages. The plays contain drama, humour, adventure, magic and a deep humanity approached in a modern way. They provide very strong roles for women throughout.
This retelling of the well known story takes place in a mythical Celtic world. Modron and Branwen are pagan forces, wise women of the woods with supernatural powers and they happen to be sisters. Like any sisters they quarrel and make up, quarrel and make up but one day the quarrel over a baby girl left in the woods, and their quarrel cannot be made up. Branwen wants to give the child to the local King and Queen who are desperate to have a child, Modron wants to keep the child for herself. The rivalry of the sisters starts a chain of events that contains all the well known ingredients of the story – the spindle in the tower and the sleep of one hundred years. Add to this mix, a half man half dragon called Gryff, a hapless prince and a deadly spider-king and what transpires is a refreshing new version of the tale.
7 (4F 3M) – although larger cast sizes are common.
- King Peredur /The Spider King
- Queen Guinevere
- Briar Rose
- Prince Owain
- The Telwyth Teg (Fairies – played by members of the cast)
‘About as far removed from the gaudiness of the traditional pantomime as you can get, this magical, high quality entertainment understands the uses of enchantment in the full Bettleheimian sense.’ The Guardian
‘Hovering deliciously between scary and fairytale, this is ashow with fire in its belly and bewitching theatre for anyone over six.’ Time Out
Originally commissioned by the Polka Theatre in London, Sleeping Beauty has had many UK Productions, including Theatre by the Lake Keswick, The Library Theatre, Sherman Theatre, Unicorn Theatre. It has had Russian and US productions, where it has recently been turned into a full scale musical.
Suitable for the whole family.