Pantomime season never ends. Anton Benson's production of Beauty and the Beast is touring around England this Easter with all-star cast featuring XFactor's Lauren Platt and National Treasure; Basil Brush.
The company of Beauty and the Beast
The show opened with the Enchantress played by Gemma Bissix and the Atomic Fairy played by Kerry Katona. Both actresses did a superb job and got the audience to interact with them very easily.
Lauren Platt played the role of Bell. Although Platt is an incredible singer, there was a very clear gap in her acting skills. Everything Platt did on-stage seemed fake as she simply wasn't putting enough energy and enthusiasm that a principle girl of any pantomime needs. Platt's face was simply not switched on and I've only seen her simile when another cast member said a funny line, for the rest of the show it was off, and it seemed as if she was only focusing on her line and blocking rather than actually acting out and having fun on-stage which is essential in any pantomime. The role of the Prince Philippe/Beast was played well by Karl Greenwood who developed the character of the beast from a prince brilliantly.
Beast (Karl Greenwood) and Belle (Lauren Platt)
Beast's Sidekick (Basil Brush)
Basil Brush was phenomenal as Beast's sidekick. He made appearances from a large colourful box for various hilarious off-plot moments and encouraged the children (and the adults) to shout 'Boom Boom Basil' after he used his famous catchphrase. The little comedy sketches such as the elevator were hysterical.
The highlight of the pantomime was Ryan Greaves as Wally and Phylip Harries as Dame Dolly. This duo was one of the funniest pantomime duos I have ever seen. Greaves' actions and comedy timing were spot-on and Harries' flirty moves with his faultless comedic timing were marvellous.
Wally (Ryan Greaves) and Dame Dolly (Phylip Harries)
The young company changes at every venue and the Oldham audiences were very lucky to watch the young members of the Footlights Theatre company. It was unbelievable seeing how talented and perfect these kids were considering they've had to learn the choreography in only 6 rehearsals.
The script was flawless however the song choices could have been better. The only thing that really annoyed me from the technical point of view was the fact that you could see the actors in the wings even though we were sat central of the stage. This spoiled all the fun of "unexpected entrances" as in one scene for example we could see the beast getting ready to go on in the wings which meant that we knew he was going to come on and it wasn't much of a surprise.
This show gets:
Overall, this pantomime is one of the best Easter pantomimes I have ever seen but there is still room for perfection to make it even better than it already is.