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Tuesday, 4 January 2022

REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast at The Anvil Arts Theatre

The main Pantomime season closes around New Year and as Producers breathed a sigh of relief that the Westminster Government did not close them down as the Scottish and Welsh governments did to their venues, they continue to navigate the dreaded Covid test text each morning to see if they have a full cast. UK Production’s show of Beauty and the Beast suffered the loss of its Beast allowing the understudy to move up from the Ensemble to the Title character. It adds an extra dimension to the performances and a warm appreciation from the audience so pleased that the show they booked is on.

This script by Jon Monie won a best script Pantomime award at Blackpool Grand in 2018 and had an outing at the Theatre Royal Bath in 2019 so the cast knows they are working with a solid base but as always, they have to bring the energy and timing to the stage to bring it to life successfully. Alongside the Understudy stepping in, it is pleasing to report that they rise to the challenge and deliver an upbeat romantic gentle comedy version of the story. The basic tale set in France remains but the Disney characters of Lumiere and Cogsworth are replaced by the comedy partnership of Nick Wilton as Polly La Plonk and Chris Pizzey as her son Louis, the Beast’s servants, to give it a strong pantomime feel. 
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