Sunday, 10 December 2017

“Beauty & The Beast”
Nottingham Theatre Royal
Dreaming of a happier life, the beautiful Belle finds herself transported to a cursed castle. Held captive by a hideous beast, the castle is full of magical characters placed under a spell by an evil enchantress. Can Belle see beyond the monster and fall in love with her captor before the last petal falls from the enchanted rose, or will the Beast’s selfishness cost him the world he once knew and the hand of the girl who has melted his heart?
Tale as old as time but with a very modern feel, this is the 2017/2018 Theatre royal pantomime starring Nottingham’s very own Sherrie Hewson(Mrs Potts-Temple-Savage) and Ben Richards from Hollyoaks is The Beast.
Ben is well versed in musical theatre having appeared in “Guys n Dolls”, “9 To 5”, “Rock Of Ages”, “The Bodyguard” and as Tick in “Priscilla Queen Of
The Desert”.
Sherrie, who looks amazing, is great fun to watch and adds to the manic comedy with Ben Nickless and Andrew Ryan. It's lovely to see one of Nottingham's most loved actors performing in her own city.
Two of my favourite Theatre Royal panto regulars make a welcome return, Ben Nickless in his fourth Nottingham panto appearance, and Andrew Ryan, making his 31st panto appearance and his 27th year playing Dame; this also being his fourth Nottingham panto.
Andrew is very involved in this particular panto as, not only does he design and create his outrageous costumes himself, he is also the Director for this panto.
Naomi Slights (Belle) is well cast and has a lovely, as well as powerful voice, as highlighted in the song "Symphony", the Clean Bandit hit from this year.
Natalie Spriggs (Deadly Nightshade) is deliciously evil, clad in black and looking a bit like Disney's Malevolent. Natalie also has a corker of a voice on her.
Danny Bayne played Trent, the equivalent of Gaston. Good looking, but doesn't he know it, forever grinning and flashing his muscles. But this story just echoes the fact that looks aren't everything. Brilliant casting for this talented dancer, who also has a strong singing voice.
A very tight and energetic, as well as athletic ensemble with plenty of somersaults and back flips being performed by a couple of the dancers, making this choreography exciting to watch.
The 3D section is possibly the best that I've seen in a panto, and the monster, killed by the Beast, was quite frightening as it towered out and over the audience.
Great sets added plenty of colour to the already colourful costumes in the show.
All of the music was taken from the last couple of years, making this show one of the most up to date one I've seen. I loved the music but many elder members of the audience may be lost with the song choices.
The jokes were topical, including a Donald Trump section which pleased the audience greatly. There were some fresh comedy sections which worked really well, distancing this panto from the traditionalist style and the four way comic song, which replaced the section where children are invited up on stage, was funny and the timings were well worked out.
Like all the other pantos that I've seen this year, this production has upped its' gain, which is something not easy to do when the standard is as high as the Nottingham Christmas shows have been in the last few years.
A great fun show which seemed all too short for me, Two hours, including the interval, and while some pantos in the past I would have shaved rime off, this is one where I could quite happily have watched more of the same.
“Beauty & The Beast” is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Sunday 14 January 2018

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