Tickets for this performance were gifted to me for the purposes of a review. Thoughts are my own and honest.
Years. That’s how long its been since I went to a panto. Absolute years! I had tickets to go last year but ended up being unwell and unable to attend so I was doubly looking forward to attending Beauty and the Beast this year. Even more so given that we were able to bring a couple of extra family members too!
One of the best things about pantomimes is the audience participation and Beauty and the beast did not disappoint. There was lots of booing and hissing for the Wolf queen, (played by Francesca Fenech) and everyone joined in with the hellos for Madame Obnobs and Barnie Doors (TJ Holmes and Gregor Duncan)
The story followed loosely the theme of the original Beauty and the Beast in that Belle (Rebecca Levy) was different and stood out in her home town of “Pierreborough”, her Father (Robin Johnson) ended up being captured by the Beast (Alex Tosh) and held prisoner and then Belle took his place, leading to a rescue and the beast turning back into a Prince – But that’s where the similarities ended so don’t expect to be singing along with ‘Tale old as Time’
There were plenty of surprises but lots of predictable punchlines – but even the predictable ones were brilliantly executed.
The cast was fantastic with many of them being great ‘all-rounders’. They sang wonderfully, danced energetically and played instruments really well.
It had everything from romance and bad guys to yodelling and singing vegetables! I’d happily sit through it again and I’m pretty sure the rest of my family would too.
My favourite character was Chef Jean-Paul. He had some brilliant one-liners and some hilarious songs. A close second was Madame Obnobs who was again, brilliantly funny. Paisley loved Belle, especially her dress at the end and Dexter, of course, loved the baddies- The wolf queen and her pack.
A really well-executed panto with plenty of songs, laughs and surprises. Beauty and the beast will be running at the Key Theatre until Jan 5th and you can find tickets here https://www.vivacity.org/theatre-events/autumn-2019/beauty-the-beast/.
The running time is approx 2 hours and there are more inclusive performances including BSL, autism-friendly and an audio-described performance