The annual visit to watch the pantomime at the New Theatre is now a well-established tradition in our family. This year, we were all eagerly looking forward to watching Beauty and the Beast, and I am very pleased to say, it certainly lived up to all our expectations.
Starring actors/actresses Lisa Riley, Ben Richards, Danny Bayne, Mike Doyle, Edward Rowe and Stephanie Webber, plus ex Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas, it is a perfect Christmas treat for all the family, from grandparents to young children alike.
Filled with the warm chatter of excited families, the theatre had such a warm and welcoming feel that was hard not to be charmed by. Complete with ornate scenery, comfy chairs and welcoming staff, it was, as usual, an unforgettable theatre experience.
The special effects really highlighted the action in the story and brought the production to life, and the frequent change of realistic scenery really gave you the impression that you were following the journey along with all the characters.
The modern twist on the fairy-tale classic was truly unique as it effectively blended modern cultural references with the traditional plot line. Hits from The Greatest Showman, and music from Jess Glynne, Jessie J and Clean Bandit featured throughout which the stars covered beautifully. Punchy one liners, innuendos and perfect comedic timing resulted in the audience being left in fits of laughter as The Kipling family navigate their way to the castle and help unite Beauty with The Beast.
The dazzling costumes and sharp choreography from adults to the young children at the Lorri Guppy school of dance added the wow factor as the young children swept and tapped across the floor along with the adults in perfect synchronisation.
Furthermore, the encouragement for audience participation was at a balanced level – enough for effective comic relief and to remind the audience of the humour in previous scenes, but not so much that it was intrusive. You could tell that some of the cast were holding back their own laughter at times which really added to the feel-good atmosphere and encouraged you to laugh along with them.
Mike Doyle, as usual playing a hilarious dame, had most of the standout comic moments, ably assisted and abetted by Gareth ‘Alfie’ Thomas and Edward Rowe, and not forgetting Danny Bayne as the stupidly vain Clarence.
As we were leaving the theatre we all left in a very Christmassy mood and heard nothing but praise from fellow audience members as everyone left. We are already looking forward to next year’s show!
Show is running until 13th January 2019
To book tickets call 02920 878889