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The boys are back in town!

Updated: Feb 5, 2020

Stoke on Trent’s favourite sons returned to panto-land at The Regent on Friday night.

Christian Patterson, Kai Owen and of course Stoke’s very own Jonny Wilkes certainly delivered in Sleeping Beauty.

Before the panto, as a 41 year old, I said to myself I was going to get into it, I was going to join in with everything, and I was definitely entertained throughout.

There was plenty of laughs, dancing and plenty of singing especially to a lot of classics from the 80s.

The play was fantastic, and it was testament to the cast and production team as they received a thoroughly deserved standing ovation at the end of the play.

Having seen plenty of pantomimes over the years, I think I can safely say this is the best I have seen.

For well over 10 years now of packed out shows at The Regent, Jonny and Christian have been entertaining the Stoke public.  Of course you get the odd local saying “not them again”, but it works, its tried and tested, and after the blip one year when an ex Eastender tried to fill Jonny’s boots it was clear the popular duo were missed which shows the love and affection from the crowd when they tread our locals boards each year.

For me it has been a while since I have spoken to Jonny and Christian personally having been an ex contestant at Stokes Top Talent, where the two of them judged me.  I was fortunate to meet them again on Friday night after nearly 8 years, and it is clear to see the love they have for Stoke which is why they keep coming back each year.  This resonates with each performance.

In Sleeping Beauty this year, Jonny plays the lovable Muddles, he brings wit, warmth and of course plenty of songs with his underrated voice.

Christian, who in my opinion (and probably the same shared by the locals), is the best dame around.  He plays Muddles’ mum, Fanny the Nanny, and yes there was a lot of adult innuendos around this character.

They are joined again on stage by another favourite, the equally funny Kai Owen who has previously played the baddies in Regent Theatre shows.

This year he plays King Cyril, the dad of Sleeping Beauty, and as well as his fantastic acting qualities, there a moment in the play which he performs a breath taking song which has local references and will leave you amazed.

There are some really standout scenes in the play that will have you in hysterics, without giving anything away, there’s a song that could quite easily go wrong, and also a nod to a very popular UK talent show.

Delme Thomas plays the fabulously stylish Chi-Chi, the spirit of Stoke, narrator/fairy godmother and you warm to his humour immediately when he is welcomed on stage.

The baddie this year (who certainly gets the boos), is Vivien Parry as the wicked fairy Carabosse.  We know as the story goes she casts a powerful curse on Sleeping Beauty by pricking her finger with a spinning wheel needle.

Vivien plays a great panto villain. She not only looks the part in her devilish costume but she properly owns the stage and at times provokes a reaction from the audience with sideswiped comments.  Vivien also has a great singing voice and proves during various scenes throughout the play.

Completing the cast is last but no means least, the fantastic Naomi Slights as Sleeping Beauty. She also shows her singing ability with flawless performances, she dances and she draws the attention to the smaller folk in the audience as the main heroine we all want the best for, she is desperate to find true love on her 21st birthday.

Another round of applause must go to the dancers who put in lots of energetic routines with backflips and all.  They are tight and perform extremely hard throughout the play

Well done and good luck to the blue and green teams of young performers, who are all from the local area and will be appearing in the show on alternate days.

The costumes are colourful and what you would expect from a panto, they compliment the amazing staging, which we have come to expect from previous years. 

You will most definitely come away from The Regent, feeling warm, festive and that you have just witnessed a cast that care and want to entertain us locals.

Sleeping Beauty runs at Hanley’s Regent theatre until Sunday, January 5, 2020.

For tickets head to:


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