With its beastly lead character, secluded in his dark and dingy castle, there’s a pleasant chill to the Spa Bridlington’s panto.
The production has the festive fail-safes - groan-worthy jokes, pump-action water pistols and a celebrity appearance. But the spookier aspects more than offset the sugar.
Craig Phillips is nicely self-deprecating as the arrogant Gaston - along with the body-builder poses, and the kisses on his biceps, there’s a twinkle in his eye. While he’s too pleasant to be a true panto baddie - no-one could bring themselves to boo him - the one-time handyman was more than willing to laugh at himself, not least at the onslaught of a series of DIY gags.
There’s camp support from Ian Parkin as the dame, Madame Fifi, and Apphia Adomakoh as Witch Hazel - a villain who seems to channel the strut of Tina Turner.
But it’s Gary Tushaw as the Beast who carries the show - post transformation, from handsome prince to hairy-faced outcast, he conveys the bewilderment and anger at his predicament.
Beauty and The Beast is a tremendous romp - spooky, without being too scary for the younger audience members, there’s some dark drama which elevates it above standard panto productions.