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Review: Little Theatre pantomime a sure-fire festive family favourite

PUBLISHED: 15:30 20 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:52 20 December 2018

The Sheringham Little Theatre pantomime, Beauty and the Beast
Photo: RICHARD BATSON

The Sheringham Little Theatre pantomime, Beauty and the Beast Photo: RICHARD BATSON

Archant

It's a tale as old as time, but with pop songs a-plenty and even a cameo appearance from Donald Trump, Sheringham Little Theatre's laugh-a-minute pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, is bang up-to-date.

Kyle Fraser as Beauty and the Beast villain Gaston.
Photo: RICHARD BATSONKyle Fraser as Beauty and the Beast villain Gaston. Photo: RICHARD BATSON

Directed by Little Theatre regular Nick Earnshaw and written for the fifth year running by West End star Killian Donnelly, who is a patron of the popular seaside venue, the show tells the tale of a cursed prince doomed to spend his days as a hideous creature unless he finds a girl who returns his love.

Resigned to live out his life roaming his empty castle with only his housekeeper for company, the prince’s future looks bleak, but his fortunes are changed when he meets the beautiful, but poor, inventor’s daughter Belle.

James Lavender as panto dame Mrs Pans.
Photo: RICHARD BATSONJames Lavender as panto dame Mrs Pans. Photo: RICHARD BATSON

However the similarity to the classic tale – or the Disney movie - ends here, as this is a panto full of wise-cracking characters whose antics are guaranteed to have the whole family rolling in the aisles.

Song s ranging from Blur’s Parklife to a number from the movie blockbuster The Greatest Showman get a panto makeover, while an eighties mash-up featuring classic hits from the era is a blast.

The Sheringham Little Theatre pantomime, Beauty and the Beast.
Photo: RICHARD BATSONThe Sheringham Little Theatre pantomime, Beauty and the Beast. Photo: RICHARD BATSON

Taking the title roles are George Caporn, who makes an impressivly imposing beast, and Emma Scott, whose superb singing voice lights up the Little Theatre stage.

Welshman James Lavender’s outrageously fabulous Yorkshire dame Mrs Pans is a delight, while his fellow Sheringham panto regular Kyle Fraser’s wooden-headed villain Gaston had a mid-week audience boo-ing and laughing in equal measure.

Other stand-out performances included David Tarkenter’s bumbling yet endearing Maurice, whose deadpan ‘Tiny Theatre’ puppet show was a hilarious highlight, and 19-year-old Sam Thomson in his professional debut, who shone in the role of Gaston’s simple-minded sidekick Le Fou.

Also worthy of a mention are Niall Kiely and Tilda Fassih as the voices of book and ipad puppets Sir Reads-a-lot and Siri Siri, as well as the two teams of talented local youngsters playing Le Fou’s ladies and Gaston’s girls.

Beauty and the Beast runs at Sheringham Little Theatre until January 1st. For tickets, (priced £19 adults, £14 children, £62 family ticket) and more information call the box-office on 01263 822347 or visit: www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

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