Beauty and the Beast,
**** 4 Stars
“A Charming Tale as old as Time!”
The Theatre Royal’s dream team of Danny Adams, Clive Webb and Chris Hayward mark their 13th year of creating magic in Newcastle’s biggest pantomime by returning to the traditional pantomime of Beauty and the Beast following last year’s circus inspired stunt bonanza that was Goldilocks.
Based on the classic tale as revived by Disney, the Story of the Beast (Chris Cowley) condemned to be forever the beast unless he can fine love and make a girl see the man with in the beast is a romantic love story at its heart that’s a charming tale as old as time and excellent for family pantomime fun.
Add to the Mix Clive and Danny’s regular routine of zany slapstick routines and Chris Hayward stunning Dame Rita Potty and the fusion of Classic pantomime with Newcastle’s regular trio works its charms. Steve Arnott the regular baddie gets to play a goodie this year as Dashing Dick the Candlestick playing opposite Reece Sibbald’s Mr Tock the talking clock. Baddies duties fall to Wayne Smith and his take on Flash Harry. Performances are universally excellent as always with the cast clearly enjoying themselves and that flows across the footlights.
Producer and Director Michael Harrison has delivered a true return to traditional family pantomime with scale that can only be delivered by QDOS, a stunning set from Ian Westbrook sparkles under the rich lighting of Ben Cracknell’s design.
The panto is written by Michael Harrison and Alan McHugh and for the most part works wonderfully well however the routine of using countries names and flags for a rhyming comedy number doesn’t work, its over long and falls flat and just isn’t landing despite the game attempt by Danny Adams it’s a comedy routine that could easily be cut from the show and making the overall product tighter.
That being said the “Trunk of Truth” routine is comedy gold and done with such force that the entire house was drowning in laughter. The same applied to the song sheet “Gilly Gilly” which has a stunning and surprising conclusion that makes the audience gasp.
All the regular ingredients come together to make the magic that is the Newcastle Theatre Royal pantomime the very best in the North East. It remains the testing ground for Qdos with many ideas and effects turning up in Harrison’s London Pallidum production.
The highlight of this years show has to be Chris Hayward’s Dame Rita Potty who arrives on stage in a succession of knock out costumes which he designs himself it brings all the glitz and the glamour that is both traditional and modern pantomime in all its glory.
Beauty and the Beast at the Newcastle Theatre Royal delivers in spades and will continue to push the boundaries of the possibilities and with next year’s panto already announced, a return of Humpty Dumpty a title not see for many a long year things continue to look good for biggest and best panto in all the land.
Qdos presents Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Theatre Royal Newcastle, Runs until Sunday 19th January 2020 for tickets go to: www.theatreroyal.co.uk/whats-on/panto-beauty-and-the-beast