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Review: Beauty and the Beast at Newcastle People’s Theatre

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Beauty and the Beast
Newcastle People’s Theatre
Until Sunday 20 December 2015

Photo: Jerry Cooper
The People’s panto is another hit this year. Amateurs they may be in theory, but this group have a wealth of experience between them and they know how to put on the razzmatazz on stage.

Beauty And The Beast starts with the fairy Bon Bon (Anne Cater) pointing out that she has lost her magic wand and now has to work for the beast in the castle. Then up pops Diablo (Roger Liddle) who has lost his tail and a similar mix of magic and, he too, now works in the castle for the beast. The solution it seems is for the beast to find true love… and fast.

Up pops Emma Jane Richardson as love interest Belle to sing the B*Witched song C’Est La Vie. Numerous dancing groups come onto the stage to strut their stuff and, just when you think the stage is full, a set of very talented Irish dancers appear. This group, from the Clann Na Ngael Irish Dance Academy will also have a set in the second half and are very entertaining.

Photo: Jerry Cooper
Daft Professor Baguette (Kevin Gibson) appears with his latest failed invention before the bad guys appear. Camilla Parker-Bike (Sarah Scott) is the town mayor who seems to be in it for herself and brother Claude (James Beresford Simpson) helps her to do her evil acts.  They were suitably booed at by the audience.

Photo: Jerry Cooper

Each panto needs a dame and a comic lead. Steve Robertson comfortably fills the shows of Dame Fifi Latrine and Joe Robson does a brilliant job as Bertie. It isn’t easy getting the younger members of the audience to get involved at the very start but the audience were soon screaming as instructed.

Photo: Jerry Cooper
The Beast then makes his appearance singing Queen’s Somebody To Love. This is a tricky accomplishment given the huge mask that he has to wear. The songs feature through out the show and each features numerous young dancers. The pick of the routines was during Be Our Guest. The choreography resembled a classic 1930s film musical in both style and scale. Credit goes to both director Anna Dobson and choreographer Julie Bowman for pulling off the ambitious scale of these numbers.

Photo: Jerry Cooper

The show did a great job entertaining the young audience and making their parents laugh too. Perhaps it was a touch longer than it needed to be but it had the enchantment necessary to keep everyone happy.  The hard working cast, and crew off stage, have pulled off a charismatic production once again.     

This review was written by Stephen Oliver for the North East Theatre Guide from Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook

Read the original North East Theatre Guide preview: 


Photo: Jerry Cooper
Beauty and the Beast runs from Saturday 12 – Sunday 20 December 2015 (no perf Mon 14)
The People’s Theatre, Stephenson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5QF £14 (Concessions £11.50)
Box Office: 0191 265 5020 (option 2) or


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