Town hall panto is pure magic for all the fam­ily

Loughborough Echo - - LEISURE - LYNETTE WAT­SON

WITH Christ­mas fast ap­proach­ing the panto sea­son has ar­rived in Lough­bor­ough and fly­ing high and low, oh yes they do, onto the Town Hall stage, the award-win­ning Lit­tle Wolf En­ter­tain­ment com­pany re­turns with their lat­est su­perb pan­tomime ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in spec­tac­u­lar style!

All the tra­di­tional el­e­ments of pan­tomime were de­liv­ered, a clas­sic tale, high qual­ity mu­si­cal num­bers and singing, ex­cel­lent pitch­ing of in­nu­endo to keep the adults happy and the cus­tom­ary kids’ chat that is al­ways pure com­edy gold.

Plot wise the story is set in the fic­tional French vil­lage of Mon­tSurRelle or pos­si­bly sur­real, when an ar­ro­gant prince is turned into a hideous beast only to be saved by a dec­la­ra­tion of love by the book-lov­ing beau­ti­ful Belle, helped by her friend Idle Jack and his mother Betty the bell ringer who also find them­selves trapped in the prince’s cas­tle, the scene now set for some mad­cap ad­ven­tures - well, it is pan­toland af­ter all.

Di­rec­tor and writer Mor­gan Brind’s script is in­no­va­tive, witty and al­ways uniquely geared to the theatre’s com­mu­nity with just some of the com­edy tar­gets be­ing Mountsor­rel although Quorn and Sys­ton were thrown into the mix, the bells of the Car­il­lon and a brief ref­er­ence to Brexit via teabags (don’t ask!) plus the usual un­for­tu­nate vic­tim on the third row, who the night I at­tended, was a cer­tain Paul from Mount- sor­rel.

And so to the multi-tal­ented cast as some old and new faces graced the Lough­bor­ough stage, first-timers Re­becca Gilliland as Belle and Adam Pet­tit, the Prince/ Beast were equally matched in their strong vo­cal tal­ent and full marks to Adam for his tear-jerk­ing ren­di­tion of ‘She’ - not easy to de­liver through a full hairy mask.

Pan­tomime wouldn’t be pan­tomime without a vil­lain for the chil­dren to let rip to hiss and boo and Rosanna Miles as the evil En­chantress, who ad­mits she loves play­ing a bad­die, rev­elled in the role.

Two re­turn­ing favourites were Kris­tian Cun­ning­ham play­ing Idle Jack to­gether with James Peake as the cus­tom­ary Dame this year tak­ing on the guise of Betty Bou Bou the bell ringer re­splen­dent in cre­ative, ridicu­lous but to­tally hi­lar­i­ous cos­tumes, look out for the mar­ble bust on a pil­lar, an ab­so­lute tri­umph, both this pair never fail to en­ter­tain and the slap­stick se­quence re­quir­ing the re­moval of a large bell, with echoes ring­ing of a cer­tain ‘Only Fools and Horses’ sketch was bril­liant stuff.

Tremen­dous sup­port from the re­main­der of the cast in­clud­ing the tal­ented lo­cal per­form­ers plus the hard­work­ing back­stage crew who made the trans­for­ma­tion of the fly­ing Beast to Prince en­tirely un­be­liev­ably mes­meris­ing en­sured that once again Lit­tle Wolf didn’t dis­ap­point in pro­duc­ing a spell­bind­ing and tra­di­tional pan­tomime that is pure magic for the whole fam­ily.

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