Beauty And The Beast - a different experience
Beauty and the BeastDevonshire Park Theatre, EastbournePANTOMIME for many is part of their Christmas routine, if it is yours then a visit to the Devonshire Park must be on your agenda.
If not, and you want a different experience then this production of Beauty and the Beast is certainly worth consideration. Yes, it is for children, but it is also for adults with much more of the story telling of old coupled with excellent song and dance routines and superb costumes - I lost count of the number of costume changes.
Eastbourne Theatres believe in bringing together a first class company of actors, singers and musicians rather than the 'TV personality' or 'reality star' of the moment and this reflects in the quality of the production. Even our grandchildren said there were more songs than in other pantomimes they had seen - and they loved it.
Sue Holderness, who heads the cast, is wonderful as the evil witch Malevolent in this French fairy story - and generates a considerable level of boos, etc. and Shona White acquires a suitable level of Franglais as Fairy Formidable.
Edward Baker-Duly makes an excellent Prince Gallant, and with superb costume and voice distortion an equally horrific beast. Katie Ray as Beauty has a fine singing voice as has David Alder, her father Jean-Jacques Jarre.
Martyn Knight makes a welcome return for the fourth year as Dame Derriere with Carl Patrick as her son Potty Pierre. Between them they perform an exceptional tongue-twist 'spotty potty' routine in the fashion of Gilbert and Sullivan.
Danny Pike of Southern FM as Bertrand the Butler completes the main cast and the Ensemble of David Carboni, Laura Farley, Sarah George, Sarah Horne, Sophie Le Brun and Ashley Nottingham are assisted by students from The Deborah Lamb School in some excellent dance routines.
Chris Jordan has done a wonderful job in writing and directing this production. It tells the story well with only a few topical references. Yes there are the old favourites, the ghost routine and the Music Man with children from the audience, but unlike in some productions they seemed to be less intrusive.
Yet again Eastbourne have excelled themselves. You will enjoy it - oh yes you will!