REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast at the Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering

Lucie Downer (Beauty), Cheryl Fergison (Malevolent),  Michael Neilson (Dame Dotty) and Mark Pearce (Potty Pierre)
Lucie Downer (Beauty), Cheryl Fergison (Malevolent), Michael Neilson (Dame Dotty) and Mark Pearce (Potty Pierre)

This year’s pantomime at the Lighthouse Theatre is simply one of the best I have seen.

Spectacular from start to finish, everything about the show works – the performances, choice of music, costumes, set designs and all.

Based on the French fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast whisks the audience off to a village near Paris where Fairy Formidable sets the scene.

The action is fast-paced enough to hold the attention of even the youngest members of the audience, but not so much that the story become difficult to follow.

There are plenty of explosive set-pieces featuring a wide range of songs, from adapatations of Amy Winehouse to tunes borrowed from other musicals as well as a totally random Abba medley – but who needs an excuse for a bit of Abba?

It is impossible to pick out any of the performers for special praise, as they are all equally exceptional.

Former EastEnder Cheryl Fergison is this year’s big draw, and is clearly relishing her role as the evil witch Malevolent whose desire to marry the prince sets off a chain of events which change the lives of all the characters.

She is very easy to boo and hiss and goes enjoyably full X Factor when singing a solo number in the middle of the show.

Michael Neilson and Mark Pearce have great chemistry, and are hilarious as mother and son Dame Dotty and Potty Pierre.

Lucie Downer is perfect as Beauty, and has plenty of chances to show off her wonderful singing voice.

Even Claire Rickard as the narrator Fairy Formidable gets her share of moments in the spotlight, in particular sharing a funny musical number with Malevolent.

The other supporting actors and backing dancers all play their parts wonderfully well too, ensuring there is never a dull moment throughout.

All the panto traditions you would expect to find are present, making for a fun-filled family show which will certainly get you in the festive mood!

Beauty and the Beast is on at the Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering, at various times until January 2, 2017.

For times and tickets visit the website.