by Stuart Spendlow
Producer: Derek Smith | Director: Jamie Harris | Musical Director: Keith Weston
Beauty & The Beast is billed as a pantomime. I’d argue against that. This isn’t really a pantomime. But don’t switch off just yet.
You see, what Beauty & The Beast is, is one phenomenal family production that is bursting at the seams with energy, excitement and magic. It’s a gripping production right through, from the powerful narrated introduction (and, my goodness, it’s beautiful) right through to the powerful full-gusto finale. Smith and Harris have done incredible justice to John Hewer’s lively, hilarious script and they bring Lincolnshire the top notch entertainment that it deserves.
Molly-Marie Buckley is gorgeous in every way as Belle; Jack Lovett is a joy to never-stop- watching as the gormless Barclay and Sophie Claypole is just pure evil as Belle’s wicked sister, Beatrice. Ooh she’s mean!
Janet West is incredibly versatile and fun-loving as the delightful Fairy Wayward; Ruairidh Greig is a tip-top balance of comedy and calm, and the rest of the cast are brilliant. Properly brilliant.
Smith and Harris have meticulously planned the choreography of scenes to ensure that there’s always something happening somewhere - taking full advantage of a large stage space and auditorium.
The expertly directed scenes (trust me - you’ll not see a single line of cast members reciting half-learnt lines) are strengthened even further by the unparalleled performances from Nicky Wright’s Studio 2000 - providing all the glitz, glamour and talent you’d expect to find.
Despite the occasional hollow sounding track, the music and vocals are incredible. Seriously. Huge credit to Keith Weston for arranging and directing this aspect in such a professional and smooth way. His passion rings out from the orchestra pit as he guides the cast throughout. Harmonies ring out and solos raise hairs - and the cast make it look so damn easy! At times, I was quite literally in awe of the sound before my very eyes...or ears.
All production elements - lights, sets, costumes and props - create an immersive experience and, whilst the short-lived slapstick doesn’t quite fulfil, it’s both warming and refreshing to see a fairy-tale brought to life so successfully by an amateur group.
For example, when you see a ballroom full of colour, character and glimmer so reminiscent to those seen in children’s’ books, you cannot help but be stunned. And when the farcical bedroom scene runs in such a slick manner, you cannot help but burst into fits of laughter.
You’ll enjoy Beauty & The Beast massively and you’ll definitely hear a buzz around town - so make sure that you don’t miss out.
Beauty and the Beast runs until Saturday 17th.
Tickets are available from Box Office on 01507 600350 or online at www.louthplaygoers.com
Belle Pettle - Molly Marie Buckley The Prince - James Burgess Beatrice Pettle - Sophie Claypole Dr Ernest Pettle - Ruairidh Greig Barclay Burke - Jack Lovett Susan Preem - Richard Lyon Richard Entwistle - Rob Mapletoft Brigette - Laura Kelly Gilette - Holly Mapletoft Fairy Wayward - Janet West Concorde the Horse - Himself Clarence Clanger - Scott Lovett
Narration by Brian Cliffe Assistant to Mr Concorde - Frances Brindle
Castle Guards Rob Rusling & Neil Warne
Beatrice’s Gang Courtney Brumpton, Daisy Jones, Anna Lovett, Erin Ramsay, Molly Sharp & Courtney Smith
Chorus of Townsfolk and Royal Ball guests Gail Brocklebank, Babs Graham, Joel Howard Team Beauty: Mia Lyall, Alana Marper, Toby Smith, Rita Tallentire, Tom Tallentire, James Read & Sunny Williamson Team Beast: Lucas George-James, Amelia Houlden, Alyssa Oakes, Caitlin Oakes, Ella Oakes, Daniel Warne & Oliver Warne
Studio 2000 Seniors: Chloe Goldby, Ellie Hales, Evie Hales, Lily-Mae Hales, Tia Kulozich, Marnie Storey, Grace Storey, Ella Kidd-Smalley, Charlotte Bushell, Ellie Fox & Jess Skill Woodland Babes: Iris Hunt, Eva Grainger, Edward Sellars, Kiera Guise, Isabella Cobley, Molly Scott, Jasmine Ross, Daisy Aron, Jessica Greenfield, Mya Hudson,Violet Blair, Gracie Smith, Libby Goddard, Liberty Wright & Leila Archer Cutie Animals: Aimee Hewson, Tia Maddison, Isabelle Molina, Sophie Handley, Chloe Peall, Maisy Learmonth, Edward King, Helena Field, Ffion Green, Amy-Rose Thomas, Gracie-Ella Bond, Daisy Horner, Delilah Horry, Holly Wilson & Amelua Maher