This year’s Beauty and the Beast panto at the Theatre Royal was an extravaganza of colour, sound and hilarity as the magical story unfolded.
Set in Beastly Bury St Edmunds there were local puns galore as Belle finds herself held captive by the bewitched Leopold the Beast.
The opening number The Most Wonderful Time of the Year saw a colourfully dressed cast dance and sing their way.
Louise Olley was a lovely Belle and Leonie Spilsbury proved a fun narrator and anchor between the scenes.
The trio of Eamonn Fleming as the Dame, Molly Muffintop, Michael Lapham as the hapless Barney Muffintop and Martin Neeley as the stylish thespian Sir Kenneth Branflakes shone throughout as they drove the audience into a frenzy of interaction.
Sebastian Hill did sterling work as Leopold/The Beast carrying his amazingly lifelike beast costume convincingly scaring and sad at times.
In charge of two young first timers I watched my grandsons, aged five and three, who were transfixed by the glamour. While the youngest was a little unsure about the scary beast he was pleased to see Leopold survive the curse of the wicked Elvira superbly played by Britt Lenting.
We joined an audience of mainly schoolchildren and hats off to teacher Jamie from Ixworth Free School who caught the eye of Mrs Muffintop and was subjected to a few cheeky asides. He stood under the spotlight and led us through the final round of Incy Wincy Spider.
Choreograhy by Julia Cave and lighting from Jake Taylor were excellent as was the superb stage design by Rebecca Lee. The whole show had great atmosphere, colour and energy and was well-written and beautifully performed – a great pre and post-Christmas treat for everyone, including ‘granny’. It runs to January 15.
A Five-Year-Old’s view of the panto:
Lucas, aged five, from Bures Primary School joined Granny Lesley Anslow for the panto along with brother Finley, three. Here are his thoughts:
“I liked the show and especially the guy in the funny hat – Mrs Muffintop .
“The beast was a bit scary. I felt sorry for him at the end because the evil woman killed him but he turned into a man so he didn’t die completely.
“I especially liked the Pokemon joke and I thought the spider’s web was quite clever. I liked all the characters really.
“It was a bit strange when everyone was shouting but I liked the surprise party.”