The Queen’s Theatre’s pantomime Beauty and the Beast delivers rioutous festive fun for all the family from start to finish.
Director Martin Berry takes no risks with panto’s beloved form; expect costume changes, audience interaction, front-row perils, and cast making fun of children and adults alike.
The casts use of live instruments during musical performances adds an extra dynamic to the show. An assortment of brass, guitars, drums, keys and bass take centre stage during the shows best moments.
As is so important for a good panto, the show is brimming full with local colour. The cast pop jokes at the expense of Basildon, Billericay and the not so loved District Line. While ’Beauty’s’ sister is an exasperating yet lovable caricature of your typical TOWIE girl, who’s only care in life is looking “on fleek” for her Instagram followers.
Fleek? What on earth is a ’fleek’ you may ask. Well, there is plenty more ’down with the kids’ lingo throughout the show to make the grown-ups despair- “When did I get so old?”. I would suggest doing your linguistic research beforehand to avoid being one of those parents who dive for their phones to google ’hench’ when the prince is introduced as such!
A healthy sprinkling of adult humour is of course provided. Predictably the show couldn’t resist taking easy topical swipes at Donald Trump and Brexit, although I don’t imagine there will be a panto in the country that won’t.
And of course there is plenty of high octane, noise and fun for the kids. The hilarious hijinks of ’Super Goat’ have the children in hysterics (and most of the adults, even if we don’t care to admit it).
The song list takes care of all ages with classics like ’I Put a Spell on You’ and modern pop hits like ’Call me Maybe’. Most importantly the addition of live instrumentation really livens up the affair.
Unfortunately some, of the musical moments felt forced, both in timing and song selection, however this is easily forgiven thanks to the brilliance of the casts delivery.
Superbly garish costumes and spectacular set design round out this raucously fun pantomime with bundles of charm and character.