We love a naughty Christmas show, and what better than a smutty take on Sleeping Beauty! We caught up with writer Jon Bradfield to hear what’s in store…
How can you tell Christmas is coming? Pantoland comes alive! One of the biggest shows to hit the London stage, Sleeping Beauty Takes A Prick!, will be at the Charing Cross Theatre (just by Heaven nightclub!) from Friday 24th November. With a cast packed with West End stars from the likes of Cabaret and The Book of Mormon, Sleeping Beauty Takes A Prick is set in the fictional Baltic country of Slutvia.
The story begins a century ago when the young heir to the throne, Prince Arry, is about to turn 21 – and is desperate to snag a hot boy at his birthday ball. But of course, his wicked uncle has put a curse on him. When Arry gets pricked (and this being an adult pantomime, they’re not talking about thorns), he falls asleep only to wake one hundred years later in the modern world.“It’s a lot ruder than the Disney version and a lot more bonkers,” says writer Jon Bradfield, “but if you dig back into early versions of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, it was quite mad. Cannibalism, the works. So we reckoned we could basically do what we liked with it. With all our Christmas shows, we’re asking what would this famous story be like if the lead character was gay. That doesn’t just affect who they fall in love with. It means playing with queer culture, sex, different kinds of relationships.”
What can audiences expect? “Stupid jokes, rude jokes, gay jokes, topical jokes, uplifting songs, ridiculous costumes, a gorgeous set, a bit of sci-fi and I hope a lot of heart. It’s traditional panto with a brilliant dame, an audience singalong and a slop scene. What I love is we have some people reliving the experience of going to panto as a kid, and then because London is such a global city we get to introduce people from all over the world to panto for the first time and they fall in love with it.”
What’s it like making a show for a bigger theatre? “It’s exciting and a bit scary. This is the first show we’ve made with our own theatre company, so we’re in control but we’re also responsible for everything. And everything costs more – it’s like buying a flat. In London! But I think it’ll still feel intimate. Charing Cross Theatre was originally a music hall, and unlike a lot of the bigger theatres in town, it has a great late-opening bar with live music. So it’ll feel like a proper night out.”
Sleeping Beauty Takes A Prick is produced by He’s Behind You, the new company Jon founded with panto co-writer Martin Hooper, regular director Andrew Becket, producer Oli Sones and their reliably quick-witted panto dame Matthew Baldwin, who is adored (and a little feared) by audiences for his performances in such shows as Dick Whittington: A New Dick in Town and Mother Goose Cracks One Out. Industry bible The Stage described him as ‘an exceptional dame.’ The Guardian called him, simply, ‘sublime’. Enough said, really.