THERE’S no getting away from it, Katie Price is no actor. However, she didn’t become a world-famous glamour model, reality TV star and bestselling author without having a huge presence.
All the best moments in Sleeping Beauty come when the star, formerly known as Jordan, is on stage.
In her wonderfully over-the-top satanic outfit she dominates proceedings and positively revels in her role as the story’s villain, Malevolence.
Her very public private life combined with almost 20 years as tabloid fodder have given Ms Price a very thick skin, so a few boos and yells from an audience of grannies, mums and kids is not going to bother her one bit.
And, actually, her entrance on a chariot pulled by ravens and devils gave the production such a lift I, for one, almost cheered instead of booed.
Katie delivers her lines, hits her marks and even sings with aplomb (her version of Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams is a highlight), but it’s her sheer personality that lifts proceedings. She doesn’t mind delivering a few self-deprecating lines about her previous exploits – like her famed appearance on TV’s I’m A Celebrity – and even adds a knowing smirk.
The New Victoria Theatre’s usual top-notch production values mean the sets and costumes are stunning and all the normal panto routines are included.
The story, of course, follows the traditional route of baby Beauty being blessed by visiting fairies before being cursed by Price’s evil Malevolence. The wholesome heroine ends up heading for a 100-year enforced sleep before being awoken (to cheers all round) by the Prince’s kiss.
In short, Sleeping Beauty maintains the New Vic’s reputation for staging the glitziest panto in the South – oh yes it does!
By the time you read this, Katie will have been replaced by ex-EastEnders star Anita Dobson in the Malevolence role.
But anyone who remembers Anita as Angie Watts in the Albert Square soap knows she can summon more than enough snarling venom to maintain the villainous side of the production.