Beauty and the Beast
29th November 2017
Garstang Community Academy
Type of Production
Author: Martin Craig
Once upon a time…… Prince Henri was cursed to be a beast, to live in his castle with only Dame Dora and his servants as company. The only way he can become human again is if a beautiful maiden falls in love with him, but this is a race against time- if she doesn`t fall in love with him before the last rose falls from its` bush (even Alan Titchmarsh and the Garden Force Team couldn`t stop this happening), the prince will die a beast.
When the beast imprisons Beauty`s father, she offers to take his place. Over time, she sees beyond the beast, falls in love with him (to the annoyance of Count Danton who wants Beauty for himself), and Pow!!! Beast turns back into a Prince and they all live Happily ever after.
The narrator (Roisin Mcann) set the scene with the tale of how the Prince became a Beast.
Gary Cross`s stand-out performance as Dame Dora was great- always sensing when there was a bit of a lull in proceedings, making the most of the comedy and helping to push the pace of the production. I really liked the Sweeties Song, although Health and Safety may have had a field day with that one. Gary was ably supported throughout Lou Wareing , playing Loopy Louis.
Derek Longstaff did a good job as the bullying Count Danton, putting down and slapping Fat French Franc (Carla Addison) whilst himself being constantly put down by the Countess de Colombe (Paddy Holman), and Beauty- played and sung beautifully by Caitlin Bibby. Caitlin`s scenes with Beast (Mike Clarke) were nice, but in my opinion a little stifled. For the two to fall in love, you`d expect them to at least get within 10 feet of each other. After the transformation, Prince Henri was played well by Will Sharples.
George Richardson, played the role of Doctor Panache, with (surprise, surprise) panache. With an accent and look straight out of `Allo Allo, I kept expecting him to rip of his moustache to proclaim, “It is I Leclerc”
On the whole, the cast performed well, though a few “first night nerves” were apparent. Personally, I think this was/is not one of Peter Denyer`s better scripts, and I felt that the company were having to work harder than they would normally have to. Nevertheless, the company did work hard and squeezed as much as they could out of it.
The chorus numbers were great- everyone smiling, everyone moving and most importantly everyone singing the words- makes a really big difference. I think that it helped that the chorus numbers were quite modern songs which the children knew- they all seemed to be really enjoying themselves.
Lighting and sound were good, although I think that on occasion, Beast`s roar may have been transmitted via satellite such was the delay between the Beast`s gesticulations and the sound. I don`t think this was just down to the technical side to be honest, and was as much down to the `forgetting to roar`-although, with it being the first night, I would think those issues will have been ironed out after that.
Choreography was kept sharp and simple and was well executed by all- as previously mentioned, the children seemed to be really enjoying themselves singing and dancing to songs they knew well. Well done to Musical Director Lucy Leather and Choreographer, Christine Bell.
Director, Steve Dobson should be really happy with the results of this year`s panto.
Thank You, Garstang Theatre Group, for your invite and your hospitality.