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Beauty and the Beast - A Sell Out Performance!

Talisman Theatre. Beauty (Paige Phelps) and the Beast (Ben Ionoff). Photo courtesy of The Talisman Theatre.

Beauty and the Beast, Talisman Theatre and Arts Centre, running from Saturday 16 December - Saturday 30 December 2023.

Review by Ashley Hayward.


All the essential ingredients of a successful panto were there in abundance in this highly entertaining and colourful production. Stephen Duckham has provided a script which is true to the original fairy tale but is at the same time innovative, imaginative and witty as well as providing plenty of opportunities for audience participation.

Under the direction of Amelia Fewtrill-Webster the audience are treated to a variety of catchy songs all performed very tunefully and there is no shortage of gags, puns and slapstick comedy together with delightfully artistic and sometimes acrobatic choreography.

Horridana (Sharon Sully). Photo courtesy of The Talisman Theatre.

The main characters – the goodies, the baddy, and the comedic - all give outstanding performances. Sharon Sully makes a particularly sinister pantomime villain as she plays Horridana the spurned sorceress, with considerable gusto. As with all the actors you get the feeling she was relishing and enjoying it every bit as much as the audience.

Dame Madam Lotte (Paul Sully). Photo courtesy of the Talisman Theatre.

Every panto needs a Dame and here Paul Sully does the considerable honours starring as Madam Lotte, decked out in several outlandish costumes whilst trading insults with her simple but lovable son Charlie (Jack Ives).

Ben Ionoff successfully manages to make the transition from handsome young prince to ugly beast and plays both parts very convincingly whilst Paige Phelps stars as the whiter than white, innocent young Beauty and performs it extremely sensitively. They successfully get across the message that goodness and love is far stronger than evil and jealousy.

Prince Rowan played by Ben Ionoff. Photo courtesy of the Talisman Theatre.

Rob Jones gives a splendid interpretation of Panisse, Beauty’s father, who is constantly mislaying his glasses and relies on the audience to remind him that they are perched on the top of his head! There was a lovely performance from Ellie Chapman as the rather mischievous and highly likeable chambermaid, Fifi, with some very impressive tap dancing and superb facial expressions.

Similarly, Hannah McDermott shines as the Rose Fairy as she moves gracefully around the stage and keeps us all informed about what is going on.

The main cast were ably assisted by the supporting actors and the senior and junior chorus who were totally flawless and accompanied by some impressive special effects and slick scene changes.

Some notable innovations were a traditional kitchen scene which also involved a singing practice as well as some witty mentions of local places and events throughout the whole performance.

I was there to witness the opening event at 1 o’clock and I understand they had to do it all again at 5pm.  After witnessing such an energetic performance, I would imagine none of the cast would need rocking in order to get to sleep on Saturday night!


I believe tickets are all sold out, but here’s the link to The Talisman Theatre for future productions:



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