Beauty and the Beast

Horsecross’s production of Beauty and the Beast holds a debt to the Disney version of the tale, and it never quite gets out from under its shadow. It’s a serviceable show and, when it works, it works well, but at times it feels uninspired.

It’s a good show and any of the parts that don’t work so well are rebalanced by a solid cast of actors.

The show is built around a patchy script; it starts in a school room but this framing device never comes back to serves any purpose. This section could have easily been cut or the exposition explained by the main characters. This, coupled with a tepid opening song, starts the show on the wrong foot, but things quickly improves when Blair Atholl (David Rankine) arrives, his arrival nicely sets up what to expect from the better parts of the show.

As with most pantos the strongest performer and the actor that seems to be having the most amount of fun in the dame, in this show played by Barrie Hunter. His delivery of the jokes were spot on; sadly this can't be said by the entire cast. They are all strong performers but, from a comedic stand point, some seem to lack the confidence in the material that is needed to deliver it effectively. There is one scene in particular where the physical comedy does not work, and the inclusion of the slapstick actually confuses the exposition that is being explained.

Deadly Nightshade (Amanda Beveridge) is a solid villain and has plenty of good scenes. She usually shares her stage time with Poison Ivy (Angela Darcy) who at times steals the show. It's a shame that Deadly Nightshade and Blair Atholl don't have more stage time together, as they seem to have a genuine spark that could be utilised more frequently.

Lynne Bustard's choreography is also a mixed blessing. She clearly has an eye for what works but, at times, it veers into 7 Club Seven territory which lends it an am-dram vibe. The musical numbers are mostly based around current pop songs, most of them I've never heard and hopefully never will again. Since they are performed by a live house-band they have adapted the tunes for the show effectively.

It’s a good show and any of the parts that don’t work so well are rebalanced by a solid cast of actors.

Reviews by James W. Woe

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The Blurb

After refusing to marry the evil Witch Queen, the arrogant Prince Sebastian has been cursed to live as a hideous beast unless he can find a maiden to fall in love with him. Not only that, the Prince's castle and servants have also been cursed to remain in limbo until the curse is broken.

Our panto dame and her hapless son, along with their best friend, the beautiful Belle, arrive in the village on holiday with nowhere to stay. The Beast's manservant thinks that Belle might just be the one to break the curse, and invites them to stay.

Will the Witch Queen's pet monster succeed in keeping everyone prisoner in the castle, whilst keeping visitors at bay?

Will Belle break the curse before the last petal falls from the enchanted rose?

Will the Beast learn some manners and charm Belle?Will local heart throb, Blair Atholl, convince Belle he is the man for her and ruin everything?

Will the dame and her laddie cause havoc wherever they go? Oh yes they will!

Brought to you by the production team of Director Ian Grieve, writer Alan McHugh, and Musical Director Stuart Watson; join our evil witch, cursed prince, fairytale princess, dopey dame, her stupid son, and a castle full of enchanted prisoners to cheer the goodies and boo the baddies and discover if love will win the day.

Throw in a startling set, classy costumes, dazzling dances, magnificent music, and laughs aplenty, and you have the perfect panto night out for all the family.