Greg McHugh and Alan McHugh in Sleeping Beauty, His Majesty's Aberdeen


Stuffed full of mischief, merriment and music, this Doric dream has all the moreishness of a fresh rowie and a barrel of laughs that brings the house down.

Sleeping Beauty is a staple of the pantosphere. Aberdeen’s take this year races through the plot – leaving lots of space for hilarity but preserving the story throughout.

Set in the heart of Aberdonia, this fairytale has all the beats you’d expect from the classic story with a few twists and turns along the way.

Alan McHugh is chief plate-spinner – writing, directing and playing Nurse Nellie MacDuff. McHugh knows his craft well – he should, as he’s written 20 other pantomimes across the country – but Aberdeen always feels that bit more special for this prolific panto penner. 

McHugh’s telling is slick, smooth and packed with gags. It’s not just about the comedy, though – the magic always twinkles away in Aberdonia.

Nurse Nellie is joined this year by the inimitable ‘Garreh’ – Gary Tank Commander, the outrageously orange creation of Greg McHugh. This cheeky chappie’s return to pantomime is very much welcome.

Aberdeen’s very own Danielle Jam makes it three times a charm at HMT, this year as the glamorous Spirit of Pantomime. Her Doric tongue is a joyful celebration of where this pantomime is set – and the audience that it’s for.

The cast of Sleeping Beauty at His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen
The cast of Sleeping Beauty at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

Julie Coombe‘s deliciously evil Carabosse squeezes every boo and can even hold a tune – not always the case for a baddie! She’s the perfect boo-ing balance to the chaos of this show, which is otherwise bursting at the seams with laughs.

Paul-James Corrigan might be this baddie’s son but his child-like innocence ensures he’s on our side too!

A seriously solid pair of principals – Jemma Ferries and Michael Karl-Lewis – bring a regal elegance to the mayhem, keeping the story in the frame in the polished way Crossroads Pantomimes is known so well for.

On a technical level, this panto pulls out all the stops – modernising classic routines, dazzling effects that leave your jaw on the floor and the musical talent of Alasdair Brown’s HMT orchestra make Sleeping Beauty a fully immersive sensory treat.

Even on a raucous matinee packed to the rafters with school kids, this panto adapts without missing a beat – squeezing even more mischief than usual.

Against the brutal North East winds, rain and snow, there is no better escape than to the warmth of Aberdonia. Sleeping Beauty is panto perfection all wrapped up in a magical bow – the perfect gift for Christmas!

Sleeping Beauty at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen until Sunday 7th January 2024

Photo Credit: APA Online