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Panto review : Beauty And The Beast provides magical family fun

By Dawn Stubbs

Dame Dolly Do-It (played by Tim Freeman). 071217JW3-14
Dame Dolly Do-It (played by Tim Freeman). 071217JW3-14

With Christmas fast approaching, panto season has arrived and Newark’s offering, Beauty And The Beast, is as enchanting as ever.

Produced by Imagine Theatre, the show has creative sets and colourful costumes plus the must-have double entendres and slapstick comedy, not to mention fantastic music, dynamic choreography and even a fight scene.

The actors, singers and dancers combine perfectly to make the production, which has started its run at the Palace Theatre, funny and magical for the whole family.

Written by Iain Lauchlan and Will Brenton, and directed by Mairi Cowieson, with musical direction from Malcolm Newton, Beauty And The Beast is set in the village of Mincing On The Verge.

Conceited Eugene, who thinks he is the most handsome man in the world, is in love with Beauty.

He and his dumb side-kick, Pimple, devise a plan to get rid of Beauty’s father, Arnold, so that Eugene can have her all to himself.

When Arnold sets off on an adventure to capture butterflies, Eugene persuades him to take a short cut through the Forgotten Forest.

But Arnold is captured by the Beast as he is about to pick a red rose to take back to Beauty.

Arnold pleads for his life and the Beast agrees to let him go as long as he sends back the first living thing he sees on his return home — Beauty.

She goes to live with the Beast in his castle.

Can they fall in love and can Beauty break the spell the Beast has been under for 500 years? All is revealed throughout the show.

Isabella Rubin plays Beauty, a caring and considerate girl with a beautiful singing voice.

She is equally matched by tenor Adam Pettit, who portrays the Beast.

Isabella Rubin, as Beauty, and Adam Pettit, who plays the Beast. 071217JW3-28
Isabella Rubin, as Beauty, and Adam Pettit, who plays the Beast. 071217JW3-28

Jonathan Wrather, of television’s Emmerdale, is outstanding as the evil Eugene, with Jamie Sheerman clowning about as Pimple.

Anna Mitcham looks stunning as the Enchantress, whose role is mainly as the storyteller.

Anna Mitcham as the Enchantress. 071217JW3-1
Anna Mitcham as the Enchantress. 071217JW3-1

David Gilbrook makes an endearing Arnold, devoted to his daughter.

Slapstick and jokes, plus audience participation, come courtesy of the larger-than-life Tim Freeman as Dame Dolly Do-It, who dons an array of colourful costumes, and his son, Willy Do-It, played by Ryan Willis.

The dancers are led by Perri-Kae Burton and Kris Wright, and excel in the number Rubber Dub Rumba.

Other catchy songs include the well-known You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful, and She’s So Lovely.

Beauty and the Beast perform I Just Want You To Know Who I Am — a guaranteed tear-jerker.

For magical family fun and laughter this festive season, Beauty And The Beast truly fits the bill.

Catch it while you can until January 3. I am already looking forward to next year’s offering of Aladdin — DAS.


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