The Sleeping Beauty – The MAD Company

Date – 27th February 2022
Director – Vanessa K. Breach
Musical Director – Sue Calvert
Choreographer – Vanessa K. Breach
Venue – The Millennium Centre, Liphook
Type of production – Pantomime

I know from past experience that the MAD Company always produces a panto with a difference, and quality is very much to the forefront. I was not disappointed and neither, judging by their enthusiastic response, was the packed audience. Director and Writer Vaness K. Breach has woven into the usual story of Sleeping Beauty, a trip back in time to the stone age, an encounter with a dinosaur (instead of the usual panto ghost) and then another trip forward in time to avoid the prince aging one hundred years. Ingenious.

Guiding us through the story, we had Nanny Napalot, endearingly played by Mick Selley in some wonderful outfits, and Chuckles the Court Jester (Claire Fewings) who seemed to have boundless energy, befriending the audience and frolicking around the stage. Spit and Polish (great performances by Olivia Tress and Hannah Titchard) were the very shouty Palace Guards, while Rebecca Willows made a bossy but nice Queen Pillowslips with Tony Robinson cowering and simpering as her husband King Duvet. Matilda West was beautifully elegant as their daughter Princess Sweetdreams being wooed by Tatum Shields as Prince Valance in true thigh-slapping panto style.

Mandy Coluccia was perfectly evil as the baddy, Fairy Nettles, with wonderful makeup and costume, really earning her boos and hisses. Tempering her evil were the two genial fairies: Fairy Lavender (Denis Titchard) and Fairy Camomile (William Rawlings) using their difference in size to good effect in their squabbling.

Of course, I mustn’t forget the many children involved. Right down to the very tiniest, they were engaged throughout the show and really charmed the audience with their numbers “Mums and Dads” and “So Long, Farewell”.

I enjoyed the choice of music throughout the show (mostly from my youth!) and although it was all sung to backing tracks, it was well within the capabilities of the singers and was put across well. My favourites were “Nobody Loves a Fairy When She’s Forty” (under-used in panto, in my opinion) and “If I were not upon this stage” which was hilarious and must have taken ages to rehearse!

Right from the start, as the cast paraded in with food for a banquet, the quality keynote was obvious: so many wonderful food props! Someone had worked very hard to produce them all. Later on we were treated to a Victorian time machine, another fantastic piece of work with a propeller on top, all lit up. Backdrops too were excellent – and the costumes throughout were wonderfully inventive, colourful and sparkly. Everything in the show down to the programme, and even the tickets, had been well thought out and nicely produced. A big well done to everyone involved behind the scenes – your contributions were just as vital as those of the people on stage.

Add in a lot of good old corny jokes, two rounds of audience participation, a very clever scene proving that 13 x 7 equals 28 (I still haven’t worked that out) and you have a show with all the traditional panto elements that was well directed and performed, and that kept a capacity crowd of adults and children fully entertained. If I have one minor criticism it is that each half of the show could have done with being a little shorter, as they exceeded the ability of the children near me to concentrate, but that’s a very small quibble.

Another triumph for the MAD Company – well done everyone involved.

Mark Donalds
NODA SE District 10 Representative

Absolutely fantasic, well done to you all xx - Mrs T

Robinson Crusoe 2018

Accolade of Excellence 


I came on with friends on Friday night and we had a great time, thanks so much MAD Company it was brilliant - Mrs N

Dick Whittington

Group: The MAD Company Theatre Group

Production: Dick Whittington

Director & Author: Vanessa K Breach

Venue: The Millennium Centre, Liphook

Date: Saturday 18th February 2023

Description of the Production

What a treat to enjoy what must be one of the last pantomimes of the season, cleverly scheduled for Half Term. The well-known Dick Whittington story took us from King Rat’s Lair to London Town, the Docks, on board the ship “The Battered Haddock”, to Morocco and the Sultan’s Palace, and back to London. The script, written by the Director Vanessa Breach, contained many references to the local area which gave it a homely touch.

Theatre Ambience and Front of House

The compact auditorium in the Millennium Centre has an excellent range of raked seating with plenty of leg room – a bonus! The Front of House team were friendly and welcoming, identified by their smart sweatshirts. The stage was on the same level as the front row of seats, giving it a more intimate feeling with the audience very much part of the action.

The Programme

Eye-catching front cover with excellent photos of past productions and the current cast. Very clear font describing the scenes and cast and team. The short history of the real Dick Whittington was very informative as I for one wasn’t aware of the background. So interesting to know that when the legend became a fairy tale, it was first performed on stage as long ago as 1604!


The main sets, painted on back drops, were wonderfully colourful in their simplicity, like scenes in a story book. Congratulations to Hazel Simmons for the super art work and the appropriate props. I particularly liked the enormous urns in the Sultan’s palace. The fully stocked shop was a triumph and must have taken a huge amount of time, as were the two large wings on either side of the stage, one a mixture of London scenes and the other a mountain of rubbish symbolising King Rat’s kingdom. The deck of the ship and the Sultan’s Palace were equally striking.


Lighting was used very effectively throughout.


The brilliant array of costumes, headgear and makeup were outstanding. An enormous variety, so many changes, colourful, co-ordinated, villagers and sailors, rats and cats, young and old. Mandy Coluccia must have had her work cut out with such a large cast and she and her helpers surpassed themselves.


The opening song by the Adult Chorus was very strong, which was maintained throughout the production – all the choruses and the principals gave it their all and the choreography matched, with clever and disciplined moves and dancing. The whole cast performed well in all the lively and cheerful dance numbers. The recorded music was never too loud and allowed soloists and chorus to be heard clearly. There was plenty of scope for children who lived up to the challenge. Vanessa Breach must have been very busy but she certainly knew her stuff. A particularly clever touch was the parcel scene where a box of crockery is gradually reduced to junk while being transported across the world. The scene of the disappearing pirates spirited off by the rats was a clever variation on the more traditional idea of ghosts and “it’s behind you”. There was a great choice of familiar songs and the audience joined in enthusiastically with their participation number, My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, bobbing up and down until I thought the raked seating was going to give up!

The Production

There is something about pantomimes which always create an atmosphere of fun, enthusiasm (by both cast and audience), colour and escape into another world for a short time. MAD’s production was no exception. From the very start, with the first appearance of suitably creepy King Rat (Tony Robinson), the chorus of young children in their colourful costumes, and three very sprightly, noisy little rats, we were immediately in a world of make-believe.

The main characters were gradually introduced, each of them very believable in their roles – innocent Alice Fitzwarren (Hannah Titchard) with her incompetent father the Alderman (Mick Selley); the two hilarious Cooks Sarah Suet (Mandy Coluccia) and Cherie Trifle (William Rawlings), who kept up his French accent very effectively; Dick Whittington (Tatum Shields), Captain Rock Salmon (Isabella Devereux) and his First Mate Chips (Kim Coombes); The Sultan of Morocco (Denis Titchard) and his beautiful slave Amber (Amy Woods). They all played their parts skilfully and convincingly.

It’s not always a good idea to single out particular roles as in fact there were no weak links. But there are a few who deserve special mention. First of all Fairy Tinkerbelle (Matilda West) who appears at the very start to reassure us that all will be well and she will overcome the ambitions of fearsome King Rat, her wonderful waving arms indicating that she would sweep him away without too much difficulty. Cassie the Cat (Olivia Tress) was very superior and bossy, clearly sure of herself and not inclined to become too familiar with anyone. The dance between her and the little kittens was enchanting. But if there was a stand-out, it was the pint-size Dozy Dan (Claire Fewings). Where did she get her stamina from? She kept going from start to finish with enormous energy, involving the audience at every turn, leaping about the stage and up and down the raked seating, masterminding the audience participation song, amusing, engaging. She hardly drew breath! No wonder she was always tired and had to be woken up by the audience!

The atmosphere at the end with the final song Reach for the Stars was electric, with the audience on their feet and singing their hearts out.

Finally, an inspired idea was to have the majority of the cast out in the lobby at the end to talk to the audience and see them on their way. My little grandson was over the moon at having his photograph taken with his two favourite characters, Cassie Cat and Dick Whitington!

A brilliant production to round off the pantomime season in such a memorable way. Well done everyone!

Jane Turner

Assistant Rep, NODA South East Region

Robinson Crusoe – The MAD Company Date – 17th February 2018

Director – Vanessa K. Breach

Musical Director – Sue Calvert

Choreographer – Vanessa K. Breach

Venue – The Millennium Centre, Liphook

Type of production – Pantomime

This was my first visit to The MAD Company in Liphook and what a great pleasure it was. High production values were evident right from the start, from the design of the tickets, a good quality colour programme and even a little kite to wave during the show! These values continued onto the set with professional-looking backcloths and wellmade props (notably the palm trees, the statue, the cannibals’ cauldron, the treasure map and the crate that Lucy emerged from) and most appropriate and highly colourful costumes. Well-designed lighting enhanced this already vivid picture. No external organisations were credited in the programme, so I assume this was all the work of company members – I am very impressed!

The script, written by director Vanessa K. Breach, contained all the traditional panto elements that had the audience responding enthusiastically right from the start. I found the female dame took a little getting used to but, thanks to Mandy Coluccia’s many talents, this worked extremely well. Choreography (also by Vanessa Breach) was imaginative and well executed. It must have taken a lot of hard work to get this large cast with a very wide age range so well co-ordinated. I particularly liked the underwater scene in Davy Jones’ Locker – so imaginative and enhanced by some fantastic props. The singing too was first rate and obviously well-rehearsed. It was amplified just the right amount although I was puzzled at times because it seemed like there were always more people singing than were on stage.

And so to the actors. First rate performances from everyone - without exception, right down to the littlest. As I mentioned before, it’s rather unusual having a female dame, but Mandy Coluccia totally made the part her own, being just as waspish and conniving as the role demands, handling the audience with great aplomb and wearing the most amazing costumes and head-gear. Tony Robinson was just right as the bumbling Captain Perkins, who seemed to have stepped straight out of HMS Pinafore. Tatum Shields as Robinson Crusoe was the perfect principal boy, with a beautiful singing voice and was well matched with Lucy Coluccia as Lucy: such a picture of innocence, how could they not fall in love? Lucy’s actions as a clockwork doll were spot on – jerky but not overdone, and I liked how her and Robinson’s costumes were always co-ordinated – a nice detail. Bethany Breach and Hazel Simmons also worked well together as Chrissie Crusoe and Ben The Bosun.

Kevin Stephenson and Claire Fewings (Captain Blackheart and Captain Fishnets) made a great pair of baddies. How did you manage to come up with so many alternatives to Blackheart’s name – and how did Claire remember them all! Kevin was every inch the pirate captain in actions, looks and speech, and Claire was the perfect, cheeky side-kick, with wonderful characterisation and stage presence.

What a great evening’s entertainment that was! Colourful, funny, well written, well directed and well executed; professional in every respect.

A huge WELL DONE to everyone involved.

Mark Donalds NODA SE District 10 Representative

Review of Robinson Crusoe

Received from NODA SE representative

Mark Donalds  District 10

Review of Dick Whittington 

Received from NODA SE representative

Jane Turner

18th February 2023

Awards and Reviews

What our audience told us about our show : -

Brilliant show, very professional and great fun. thoroughly enjoyed - Mrs K

Thoroughly enjoyed the show,! Well done everyone - Mrs T

You were all fantastic, well done and thank you

- Ms G

Liphook Carnival Float -

Aladdin theme 2019

Best on the move float

1st in Category

Most Colourful / Illuminated Float

Pantomime theme 2022

Winner of Best Illuminated Float

It was amazing, well done everyone - Mrs H

Review of The Sleeping Beauty

Received from NODA SE representative

Mark Donalds  District 10

Great panto , well done to all ! Really enjoyed it - Mrs W

Excellent, well done everyone - Mrs T

Aladdin 2019

Runner Up - Best Pantomime


The Sleeping Beauty 2022

Winner of Pantomime Excellence District 18 

NODA SE Region - Runner Up 

​Best Pantomime