The Bath panto this year is an absolute triumph. The storyline is as expected, yet the joy is that here we have a fresh, energetic and engaging production written by the multi-talented Jon Monie.
From the outset, there is plenty of sparkle and fizz to keep all ages entertained.
However the skilful script takes us on a wonderful pastiche of Les Miserables, Boris Johnson, all things panto related and French.
We are, we must remember, in France at all times. As always the glorious innuendo has a knowing wink to the older audience whilst the younger ones relish the endless interaction, visual comedy and the excellent work of the Dorothy Coleborn dancers.
The cast work well together. The now-familiar comedy duo of Jon Monie and Nick Wilton as Louis and Polly La Plonk ensure there is never a dull moment.
Shaun Dalton (Beast) wins our sympathy whilst delivering outstanding vocals throughout the show.
Seasoned musical theatre star Wendi Peters (Fairy Bon Bon) is a winning presence whilst Ben Harlow (Hugo Pompidou) is a fun arrogant baddie who gets the ultimate curse of having to move across the channel.
Clare Maynard (Belle) and Marcus Knibbs (Clement) complete the company who work tirelessly to celebrate this winning formula.
Rarely is there a panto that feels so seamless.
There is not a weak link in this sparkling chain of laughter, goodwill and beautifully balanced family entertainment
The reaction of the first night audience confirmed that is a great way to start the festive season.
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Reviewer: Petra Schofield
Beauty and the Beast, written by Jon Monie and directed by Michael Gattrell, is showing at the Theatre Royal in Bath until Sunday 12th January 2020.
For more information and tickets, visit the Theatre Royal website.