Review: Marina’s Beauty and the Beast has all the ingredients for a great pantomime

Belle and the Beast in Lowestoft's Marina Theatre pantomime. Picture: Charlotte James Photography &

Belle and the Beast in Lowestoft's Marina Theatre pantomime. Picture: Charlotte James Photography & Events - Credit: Archant

With a beautiful heroine, dazzling costumes and a show packed full of upbeat songs, Beauty and the Beast at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre has all the ingredients needed for a great pantomime.

Jeremy Edwards as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Charlotte James Photography & Events

Jeremy Edwards as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Charlotte James Photography & Events - Credit: Archant

And there were some familiar faces in the cast too, with Hollyoaks and Holby City star Jeremy Edwards as the handsome yet arrogant Gaston, and Terry Gleed, who I remember from last year's Marina pantomime, back in the role of the dozy sidekick as Freddy, or should I say Freddy-Oui.

And all the other usual characters were there too, with the magical good fairy Rosebud, the mad panto dame Madame Cherie Trifle and the handsome prince Francois, who transformed from the wicked beast.

The evil witch Hagwitch was given a modern-day twist, dressed in light-up trainers, pink leg warmers and a multicoloured feather boa. And Graeme Henderson did a great job as the poor and forgetful inventor Professor Crackpot, who lost his glasses in almost every scene.

The costumes were full of colour, the scenery transported you into a magical fairyland and the young performers from the June Glennie School of Dance brought every scene to life with their energy and smiling faces.

The Dame in Beauty and the Beast at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre. Picture: Charlotte James Photography

The Dame in Beauty and the Beast at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre. Picture: Charlotte James Photography & Events - Credit: Archant

The show included two of my favourite songs from musicals - Come What May from Moulin Rouge and All I Ask of You from Phantom of the Opera - both love songs performed excellently by Matthew Wellman as the Beast/Prince Francois and Rosie Hale as the kind and gentle Belle. Their voices were truly amazing and the band sounded great too.

And the Dame and Professor performed a more modern love song in the form of One Direction's History.

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The show had plenty to please the children with audience interaction and slapstick comedy, but also included lots of innuendos for the adults.

Plenty of scenes caused the audience to laugh out loud, with the Dame and Professor declaring their love through chocolate bars, a hilarious 'who, what, I don't know' sketch with Gaston, and the Dame being prepped like a Christmas turkey.

Gaston and Freddy in Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Charlotte James Photography & Events

Gaston and Freddy in Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Charlotte James Photography & Events - Credit: Archant

A great soundtrack was chosen for the entrance of Gaston, with the audience encouraged to scream every time he set foot on stage. He really did play the role well, and had the audience loving him and hating him at the same time.

And Freddy was a joy to watch, with so much enthusiasm and presence throughout the show.

And while I was a little disappointed to see no singing clocks or dancing cups and saucers, Darth Vadar did make a quick trip down from a galaxy far, far away to appear on stage.

The show is a must-see slice of seasonal silliness, suitable for the whole family.

The show continues until January 1, 2017, with tickets available from the box office on 01502 533200 or online at www.marinatheatre.co.uk

AMY SMITH

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