Review - Beauty and the Beast, Theatre Royal Wakefield

It felt great to be back at Theatre Royal Wakefield for a hilarious pantomime version of Beauty and the Beast.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 8:03 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 8:04 am
From left Chris Chilton as Monsieur Bon Bon and Chris Hannon as Fanny Fromage in Theatre Royal Wakefield's Beauty and the Beast. Pic Ant Robling
From left Chris Chilton as Monsieur Bon Bon and Chris Hannon as Fanny Fromage in Theatre Royal Wakefield's Beauty and the Beast. Pic Ant Robling

I went along to review the show with my two daughters Jasmine, 9, and Arianna, 6, and their friend Mowada, 9.

This slick cast seamlessly entertains both old and young alike with Chris Hannon’s corker of a show.

"It’s been a while but I bet you remember how to raise the roof…” declared the cheesy comedy duo Fanny (Chris Hannon of Topsy and Tim fame) and Louis Fromage (Sam Nixon of Pop Idol), and we certainly did.

Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Beauty & the Beast Young Chorus as Creatures of the Night. Pic Ant Robling

Making up for lost time just like any great relationship, distance makes the heart grow fonder, as we were quickly reacquainted with how wonderful our favourite panto is, complete with water pistols and audience participation.

This is utterly brilliant with its light-hearted approach and traditional panto humour yet its in-depth layers of expertise transforms this age-old tale into something of a 'Beauty' for everyone.

From the warm volunteers who greet you to ‘be their guest’ at this fabulous venue on Westgate to the diversity of the engaged audience, all reflecting the abundance of hope and joy the children and I feel as we lose ourselves along with our worries into this masterpiece on our doorstep.

From the first ‘bonjour’ to the last goodbye, all four of us were thoroughly entertained throughout as we abandoned the winter weather bellowing outside for this heart-warming delight.

With live music to boot, I cannot fault this production which had us all dancing in our seats, even the kids forgot to eye-roll at me as I couldn’t help but shimmy along.

Not only is Beauty and the Beast clever and professionally delivered but the cast is as ever made up of local talent who inspired my eldest daughter and their friend to join the theatre’s Performance Academy.

In an industry that has been largely depleted in the pandemic, this show transports you away from the drama of the outside world and into the fantastical world of the theatre and all it offers us.

While we did what we could to teach them the odd ‘bonjour,’ nothing replaces the wide-eyed sparkling of my children’s eyes as they’re transported away from the screen and right onto the Victorian stage across the stunning Matcham auditorium.

“I want to go again,” enthused my six-year-old who had been indifferent about attending prior as her last panto was a forgotten memory.

Until January 3, 2022.