On Sunday tea time I took Chloe and Amy along with Chloe’s best friend Willow and her mum over to St Helen’s to watch their October half term panto; Beauty and the Beast. Ben had decided he wasn’t that bothered about coming but my girls love the story of Beauty and the Beast so I knew they’d really enjoy it. Amy was a little apprehensive as she remembers seeing Beauty and the Beast at The Epstein a few years ago and being quite scared of the Beast. I reminded her that she’s much bigger now and that she knows the story has a happy ending!
I’ve said before that Beauty and the Beast doesn’t strike me as being a typical choice for panto and as such the St Helen’s performance sees some twists and tweaks to the story to allow it to fit more easily into the traditional panto genre. I found it really interesting to chat to Chloe, Amy and Willow after the show to see what they had noticed about how the story differed from the Beauty and the Beast that they are used to. Chloe pointed out that the “baddie” is normally an enchantress rather than Gaston’s Mum . . . Amy told us there were no singing candlesticks! (She wasn’t the only one to comment on this – I overheard another member of the audience saying that she was disappointed that they hadn’t sung “Be Our Guest”. The music in the show was great – a mix of old and new, with lyrical changes to suit the story for example Little Mix’s “Shout Out to My Ex” became “Shout Out to Gaston!” but if you’re a lover of the Disney adaptation then you’ll notice your favourites are conspicuous by their absence.)
St Helen’s resident panto dame, Si Foster, kept us well entertained alongside Lewis Devine with some hilarious moments – though I must admit the unintentional slip ups were my favourite – I love it when things go a bit wrong on stage in a panto, you never quite know what’s going to happen next and these two make a great team.
Through a combination of song, dance, pyrotechnics and cheek, the cast did a great job of retelling the story of Beauty and the Beast – a tale as old as time, but in their own words. We were offered up the usual panto slapstick, audience participation and over the top costumes that we all love. All three girls really enjoyed the performance and have had plenty to say about it since!
Beauty and the Beast runs through till 28th October at St Helen’s Theatre Royal and tickets are available here.
*We were invited to watch Beauty and the Beast free of charge for the purpose of review, however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*