Beauty and the Beast, Royal Victoria Hall

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The pantomime at Southborough was the one we took our children to for the five years they were all appreciative (2001 – 2005) (and as I have the records: Aladdin, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Dick Whittington, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves). A smaller theatre than the Assembly Hall, it offered a cosy, family atmosphere, and the audience age range has always ranged from toddlers to grandparents. We went enough times to learn off by heart the words to Keith “the comic” Higgins’ end of show song (‘Do your ears hang low….’).

With such fond memories, I returned last night, tagging along with the 2nd Southborough Brownies and Guides, to see ‘Beauty and the Beast’. This Wicked Productions performance offered all the old favourites, plus more – the special effects have improved, as has much technology, in the past eight years. The jokes were corny, the dance was excellent (particularly the matchstick men dance) the songs topical (‘Blurred Lines’ in a whole new light). But most of all, as there’s an intimate feeling to it all – we didn’t mind standing up to dance or stamp our feet (too much).

A few credits, to Tom Swift “Producer, Director, French Franc” who may be the person to ask if those ‘errors’ are there more often than we thought, and Carla Nicholson “Co Producer, Choreographer” and Steve Fuller for the photo of Belle (Elinor Lawless) and Franc. I do have an excellent one of Dame Madame Fi Fi’s finale outfit, but ‘she’ is hanging around the car park at the time…

Hopefully there’s more to come – ‘The Wizard of Oz’ will be at the Royal Victoria Hall Theatre 16th – 21st April and then next Christmas season – ‘Peter Pan’. Here’s their facebook page Wicked Productions if you think I’m lying about the fun and laughs – read the other comments here!

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