This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour was invited to see Beauty and the Beast by Belgrade Theatre.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This production contains some inferred violence.
Panto Review: Beauty and the Beast at Belgrade Theatre
Written and Directed by Iain Lauchlan, Co-directed by Jenny Phillips
In a Midlands town, Middle Widdle on the on the Piddle, Maurice (Peter Watts), has been delivering his unwanted affections to Beauty (Ruby Eva) while Grub (Miriam Grace Edwards) has a crush on Maurice, Silly Billy (Craig Hollingsworth) has had a crush on Grub.
Meanwhile, Silly Billy’s mother, Dame Dolly Mixture (Iain Lauchlan) has been having a tricky time with sales after the lockdown. Beauty’s father Harold (David Gilbrook) has read about The Enchantress (Katy Anna Southgate) banishing a Prince (Samuel Lake) to a castle for 500 years as a fearsome beast (Sion Lloyd).
All of the townsfolk find their lives put on hold as they deal with this fearsome beast in this romance led adventure story with plenty of magical moments.
My mother and I were lucky enough to see the matinee performance of this fun family friendly panto and we were actually sat in the circle which its out of what I like to call “The Splash Zone”. (Watch out for the buckets is my advice!)
Those expecting the Disney characters will be in for a bit of a shock as there are no talking clocks or teapots.
The sets have the pastel cartoon feel that I’ve come to recognise after several years seeing the Belgrade Panto, whilst the costumes were excellent with Beauty’s ballroom dress of exceptional glamour. Of course our Panto Dame gets the brilliant outfits to wear, all inspired this year by sweets and chocolate or sweeties as Iain Lauchlan says. The Lion Bar outfit is my favourite.
The music switches between well known tracks including Walking on Sunshine and S Club 7’s Reach to more traditional style panto songs. The orchestra here is much more of an inhouse band with electric guitar and percussion. As always the “If I were not an actor” song and the “Ya-da-da, Ya-da-da” Spooky song is here (which I don’t know the proper title of). And there’s a very messy version of the Hokey Cokey.
The first half lasted 85 minutes whilst the second half was a much shorter 35-40 minutes. Those with younger children might struggle a little to keep them in their seats for the first half, something to consider when booking for children under the age of five or six.
After last year’s digital panto, there’s something warm, friendly and comfortable about being back in the Belgrade Theatre for its affectionate production which still manages to keep everyone on their toes. There’s gentle humour for the kids and really hidden adult jokes that woosh over many peoples heads. Current jokes are blended with skill with some very old jokes! (Which is great and shamelessly familiar!)
Panto magic at its finest, Beauty and the Beast is at Belgrade Theatre until 8th January 2022. Book tickets here: belgrade.co.uk/events/beauty-the-beast