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Beauty and the Beast review at Princes Hall Theatre, Aldershot – ‘polished and vibrant’

Aldershot’s festive offering is a traditional, vibrant and very polished panto. There’s not a hint of smuttiness and the performances are all strong. The cast members are completely in control of the chaos, handling the audience interaction with warmth, good humour and confidence.

Rachel Lea-Gray’s Belle isn’t looking for a handsome prince, she just wants to find someone kind. She initially falls for the Beast’s extensive library and is soon dancing with him round his elegant ballroom.

The pace of Robert Hopkins’ production hardly ever flags and James Barry’s script is peppered with entertainingly modern references and local jokes about the relative attractiveness of people from Woking.

There’s an entertaining Strictly Come Dancing-style treatment of Belle and the Beast’s first dance together and the music is a delightfully diverse selection from Ed Sheeran to Wilson Phillips to the Nolans.

The highlight of the show is Kluane Saunders’ turn as Fairy Fifi and Tom Capper as Flambé, with the cranking up up their French accents to ‘Allo ‘Allo! levels. Samuel Wright as conceited Gaston, who jeers at the audience’s “predictability” for booing him, delivers a winning combination of wit and wickedness.

https://www.thestage.co.uk/pantomime/ [1]

Verdict
Pacy, polished local pantomime with warm and winning performances

Production Information

Production
Beauty and the Beast
Venue
Princes Hall Theatre
City
Aldershot
Starts
December 7, 2018
Ends
December 31, 2018
Authors
James Barry
Director
Robert Hopkins
Choreographer
Dee West
Set
Scenic Projects
Cast includes
Robert Hopkins, Donovan Christian Cary, Rachel Lea-Gray, Paul Grunert, Tom Capper, Simon Pontin, Samuel Wright, Kluane Saunders
Producer
Rushmoor Borough Council, Hopkins Associates
Running time
2hrs 30mins