Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time and is currently home at Waterside Theatre Aylesbury this panto season. Oh yes, it is. This fabulous panto is my favourite of the season…okay it’s the first one I have seen but I loved it so much I want to see it again and again. And if I love it – your whole family will too!
Andy and La Voix are just a perfect duo. They work so well together that you don’t know where they ad lib and where the script begins. It’s a match made in heaven. They have been doing Aylesbury panto for a few years together now, and I thought I had heard it all – but the script this year is on fire. La Voix plays Polly Pot Et Pan and Andy plays Louis Pot Et Pan. I loved the in-joke about pots and pans. After all those who know about the 12 days of Christmas in panto will know that pots and pans make up part of that song along with some toilet rolls that get thrown into the audience and a bra that was made to fit three! Poor Andy always gets a good workout from that. I have defected this year from Radio 2 to listen to Andy on his breakfast show on BBC three counties and have not regretted it once. To see him on stage feels like he is already a friend, so it’s a delight to see he is so genuine in real life. La Voix has a special place in my heart. I have seen her not only in the last few pantos, but her own solo show and she never disappoints. She is stylish and always a joy. I have recently been following her live vlogs and when I mentioned it was my birthday on one of them, she impromptu sung Happy Birthday to me. I was so chuffed. Tonight, La Voix picked out a member of the audience and saying what a nice top she had on. ‘Do you know what would go well with that?’ she asks. The audience doesn’t know.’ An iron’. Her dead pan approach delivers in bucketloads.
Belle is played by Amelia Adams-Pearce and she is truly worthy of the name looking like a beautiful princess. However, there is so much more to Belle than looks. Forget frozen, Belle is the first truly empowered princess. She rejects the most handsome man in the village, she is brave enough to stay with the beast to give her father freedom and when she falls in love, it is she that proposes. Amelia fits the brief perfectly, with a voice like an angel and a sassy attitude, Amelia gives Belle an edge that I hope all the younger princesses in the audience are inspired by. I spoke to Amelia after the show and she told me its her dream role. An empowered princess – who wouldn’t want to do it?
Hugo Pompidou is the sexiest man in the village. His funny French accent is reminiscent of the policeman in ‘Ello ‘Ello so there are many misunderstandings between him and Belle. He wants her as a trophy bride, but the trouble is he is already in love with himself! Michael Quinn plays the part perfectly and although you may want to boo him in places, I really enjoyed his character and his very sexy red tights. I had to stop myself shouting something out – after all this is a family show, but he is sexy and those tights do draw the eye.
The beast is played by Danny Walters aka Keanu Taylor in Eastenders. His portrayal was outstanding with a powerful and at times scary performance. He roars and is quite angry at the start of the show before Belle melts his heart. One of Danny’s solo pieces was Someone You Loved and he outshines Lewis Capaldi in my opinion. I was truly spellbound by it. I also need to mention his transformation towards the end of the show which felt really magical to experience.
This show will fulfil all your panto needs. Its funny, has a fantastic script and is delivered so well, along with some fabulous dancing from the ensemble and a full orchestra – what more could you ask for?
Tickets still available here
Beauty & The Beast is at Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury until Sunday 5 January 2020.