Reviewed by Sandip Stapleton
We went as a family of 4 to see Beauty and the Beast at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal and had an amazing night. It was the first panto our kids, aged 3 and 6, had seen but they really enjoyed it.
We had seats in the stalls which gave us a great view. We had to get booster seats for the kids, but these are easy to obtain at the cloakroom stall. My just turned 3-year-old found the volume levels a bit too loud so perhaps being higher up for the younger kids might be better. Our 6-year-old was fine with the noise.
The story didn’t fully follow the film version but all the main elements were there. You got to see the vain Prince transform into the Beast, and the rose was presented on the stage a few times throughout the play and you saw the petals physically drop off which was pretty cool. And towards the end you got to see the Beast transform back to the Prince.
The actors were great, and you could tell they genuinely enjoyed being part of the show, just and much as we enjoyed watching them. It was nice touch to have Sherrie Hewison come back to her home town to perform.
The comedy moments in the show proved the biggest hits and got everyone laughing along. Our favourites were the Apple watch sketch, where Benny’s watch filled in lyrics during a conversation with Trent, and the sketch where Benny was choosing a DVD title with his mother. The latter was hilarious and had everyone in stitches.
The musical numbers were really lovely and nice to have some current songs fashioned into the show. Belle had a fantastic singing voice and stage presence and really played the character well.
The baddies, Trent Bridge (Gaston in the film) and Deadly Nightshade, who had a look of Maleficent, were fab too and perfectly executed their roles. Deadly Nightshade had the perfect baddy cackle and inter-nation in her voice, whereas Trent was a perfect blend of baddy with comedy timing.
The costumes were pretty amazing too. God knows how Dame Blumental manage to change outfits so quickly, but my daughter was very intrigued to see what the next outfit was going to be, even if some of them were a bit racy!
Although pantos are family orientated, if you have young children be prepared that there are a few bits that might frighten them. The last scene of act one has a puppet of a Kraken which captures Belle and is then killed by the Beast. The scene is dark, loud and the Kraken itself is huge and moves forward towards to audience. There were quite a few scared kids at this point, mine included who wanted their eyes and ears covered.
In the second act, there is a 3D scene where you watch Benny and his mother run through a forest dodging spiders, owls and other insects. The kids can simply shut their eyes for this bit, but I was pretty impressed with the graphics.
All in all we absolutely loved Beauty and the Beast and will probably make going to the panto a yearly tradition. Well done to the cast and production team!
Tickets cost from £18 to £35.50 (booking fees may apply).
Beauty and the Beast is at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham from 9 December 2017 to 14 January 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.trch.co.uk or call the box office on 0115 989 5555.
Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 5ND | 0115 989 5555