Beauty's Beast Unleashed
26th January 2018
Library Theatre, Luton
Type of Production
Author: Nova Horley
Another very enjoyable adult pantomime, with good performances, and some quirky scenes. I loved the opening, the ‘Hello’ song was excellently conceived, and performed.
I felt however, that perhaps Adult panto has become such a big deal, that as the years go on some of the rawness, vulgarity and fun has gone out of it, and now the Directors and cast are trying too hard to make it an authentic piece of theatre. There will probably be many people who will disagree with me, but I felt that there were loads of opportunities for rudeness and audience participation that were lost or not taken hold of and run with.
The sets were very good, and the scene changes slick, so we moved well between the different scenes. Lighting was suitable and enhanced the action.
Sound was good throughout, nicely achieved.
There is no getting away from the fact that it was nicely adapted/written, and I enjoyed the quirkiness of it, along with good choreography and well-chosen musical moments. There was lots of fun and many rude references, and it was very slick. The beginning was a surprise when the MD suddenly became Belle, and Cheryl Desborough maintained a lovely wide-eyed innocence throughout, until the finale, very well done.
I thought Peri Lynn gave us a great Simone, very upfront and funny, with lots of naughty references, excellent portrayal.
Jenna Ryder-Oliver as Madame looked great and was truly evil, she had some very good songs, and some lovely bad moments, I would have liked to have been given more encouragement to boo her!
Madame’s cohorts were played by Debbie Cavanagh, Jo Herd and Roz White, all with their own personalities and characterisations, which came over well. Jo also choreographed, I liked what she did and how she moved the cast, keeping within the bounds of what they could do, but making it slightly different and edgy.
David Hillman was a lovely bumbling Professor, I think perhaps his long-winded and very precise wording for simple things was lost on some people, and because of the problem with his mic, some detail was lost. However, we got the gist of what he meant in the long run.
Ben Jaggers was an excellent Mrs. Pothead, he interacted well with the audience, and looked great. His little dittys were very funny too.
Alex Wheeler and Nico Bamford as Cogs and Lumos were a great double act, and with Mrs Pothead formed a very good household servant trio. I loved What Do I Do Now, they all performed so well together, and were such diverse characters. I also loved their positions for the ‘freeze’, so funny!
Alex was a very proper Cogs, good costume, and very precise, I always enjoy Alex’s performances.
Nico was a great Lumos, he gives so much energy to his performances, throwing himself around with abandon – excellent.
Dan Goodge played the Beast, he and Belle had a good relationship, with Dan showing his bad and good sides well. I would have liked to have seen his face slightly more beastly. The transformation scene at the end was hilarious and very well thought out. I enjoyed his duet with Belle, their voices sounded good together.
Michelle Stanton and Tamnna Jethwa were very active and vocal servants and villagers, adding much to the action.
The costumes were good, even the slightly crude ones – but they were all suitable for the characters, and very colourful. Well done to certain members of the cast (particularly Nico Bamford) for carrying them off so well, and I thought Jo Herd looked very striking in her outfit. Jenna Ryder-Oliver’s dress was simple in concept, but exactly right, with the red-lined sleeves setting it all off nicely.
A very enjoyable evening, and whilst I found it engrossing and very well directed and performed, just a little more slack on the fun/vulgar side would have made it for me!