It’s time for a seasonal pantomime in St Helens and this spring offering is a Regal Entertainment’s version of Beauty and the Beast written by Liam Mellor and directed by Chantelle Nolan.
As with all pantomimes here at Theatre Royal and I’ve reviewed many here it was full of audience interactions, audience participation and the odd on the fence joke with an audience member or two getting involved on stage. So, to the story, Fairy Rose (Maria Lovelady) came on to the stage to tell us all about the little town of petit pois. Gaston (Auguste Voulton) with his big muscles and charisma wanted to take Belle (Lauren McCrory) as his bride but she wasn’t interested and definitely didn’t want to marry him, so Gaston and his mother Madame Botox (Abigail Middleton) hatched a plan by slipping a potion to the Prince to become a hairy, scary and frightening Beast (Benjamin Keith). The show had its fair share of comedy and chaos provided by Pantomime regular Lewis Devine who played French Frank and Potty Polly played by Richard Aucout.
I must admit when I was watching this show. It wasn’t the best version of the story I’ve seen at this theatre. I preferred other versions seen in previous years. As I mentioned earlier, I review here a lot especially pantomimes and feel others were better than this one. There were moments within this show where Gaston was a bit flat in his singing which was often distracting. Especially within the opening of the show. When the Prince became the Beast it was rather obvious because you could see him lift up the curtain before the dancers gathered around him so he could transform in to the Beast costume. There were moments where the backing tracks were loud, so some vocals were lost and made my ears hurt.
However, it wasn’t all bad. Lauren McCory is a fantastic Belle a true star and I hope she also becomes a permanent regular within the shows at the Theatre Royal a definite leading lady on any stage she walks on to. The important thing about pantomime is to keep the younger audiences entertained. This show did that as kids lost their minds when they were asked to shout out and be involved. Lewis and Richard are a definite comedy duo and work well together you won’t go wrong if those two are on the stage of any show and they both know how to work a crowd and have them eating out of the palm of their hands.
If you’re looking for something to do for the remainder of the Easter break then do check this show out as the children would love it and they will lose their minds for 2 and a half hours, the show will have them reeling at the tricks and the slapstick comedy within the show.
Beauty and the Beast continues in St Helens until 16th April, https://www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com/whats-on/
Reviewer: Luke Stephenson
Reviewed: 7th April 2023
North West End UK Rating: ★★★