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Belgrade panto review: Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, to Jan 8.

By Ann Evans

Great news for kids, families and everyone who loves a good old traditional pantomime - the Belgrade's panto is back in all its hilarious and spectacular glory.

Beauty and the Beast, written and directed by Iain Lauchlan, and performed by the Belgrade in association with Imagine Theatre Ltd, is packed with music, singing, dancing, laughter, slapstick, and of course all the wonderful characters we love to boo and cheer.

This year, as ever, Iain Lauchlan takes the role of the Dame - Dame Dolly Mixture, whose costumes are superb as is Iain’s performance - faultless and funny. Dame Dolly's sidekick, Silly Billy - Craig Hollingsworth - is equally hilarious especially with the slapstick scenes which have the audience howling with laughter.

Ruby Eva as Beauty, is delightful, and performances from David Gilbrook as Beauty's dad Harold and and Sion Lloyd as Beast, are also top-notch. Lloyd has been in numerous West End musicals and has the perfect voice and demeanour for the Beast. His first appearance was so startling and dramatic that it sent my five-year-old grandson leaping off his seat and on to his mum’s lap for protection!

Performances by Miriam Grace Edwards as Grub, and Peter Watts as the egotistical Maurice are also excellent.

As with all good fairy tales, there’s a narrator, and in this production, it is The Enchantress – Katy Anna Southgate. She addded a mystical air to the show, which has some excellent special effects in it too. There’s lots of joyous singing and dancing (terrific choreography by Jenny Phillips), making this a fabulous panto for all the family - which is what we’ve come to expect from Iain Lauchlan.

Running time is 2 hrs 30 minutes including interval.


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