Panto Review: De Montfort Hall's Beauty and the Beast.
Everyone loves a good sing along at Christmas time! Ohhhh yess they do! Like every year, De Montfort Hall host a pantomime based on either a fairy-tale or a classic children's tale. And this year was no different. What with the success of he live-action re-make, it was a no-brainer that the pantomime would be Beauty and the Beast. Sam Bailey returned this year as a narrator/good fairy along with Sarah Accomando (Beauty), BBC Radio Leicester's Martin Ballard, (Dame) and Richard McCourt from Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow.

CBBC's (remember? 90s generation, I'm looking at you) Dick from Dick and Dom In Da Bungalow meant that the children were playing a game of BOGIES! with enthusiasm every time he made an appearance, and the pie-splats definitely allowed the children to put their silly hats on. It seems that no expense was spared on the props. Varied, bright and attractive, it was a visual treat for the young audience. Perhaps including Mrs.Potts and Chip may have put the cherry on the cake? I was expecting an old dear to be dressed up as the round matriarch, with a skinny teenage boy running along after her, the young Chip. Ah well. Maybe next time perhaps?

I was also expecting the Beast to be much larger (considering the size of last year's Giant in Jack and the Beanstalk), but I suppose that the transformation scene of Beast-to-Prince was really well done that it made up for the average-sized Beast. Where was the #Tale as Old as Time# dance? At times it certainly felt as though the Dame/Dick jokes were very disjointed with the performance itself, so I think if less time was spent with the Dame and Dick cracking jokes, the famous heart-warming number could easily have been performed. I heard a couple of 5 year old princesses critiquing ,'But Belle wears a yellow dress!' I must admit, even I was a bit sad faced at the classic gown having been left out.

However, the set design for a tale as old as time didn't disappoint at all. It was mesmerising, with its clever use of disco ball and spot lights creating a magical atmosphere for the little ones. With a stage set like that, it was a promising start, with children 'oohing!' and 'aahhhing' even before they had put bottom to seats. This production ticked all the boxes of a great pantomime! It was family-friendly, constantly encouraging the children to scream, shout and even dance along with one of the catchy tunes! A spectacular jazzy Christmas bonanza for all those Disney fans out there.

Ending with a bang! this production is certainly a recommended from me if you have young children to entertain during their school holidays (if they haven't been already!) I think they'd enjoy the fireworks, the pretty lights, and the number of times they get to hiss at I'm-sooooo-gorgeous Gaston. This panto promises to make you laugh, and even if you don't have young children to entertain, I'm sure the child in you would giggle at the jokes. Since they have no age limit, De Montfort Hall would surely say 'Be Our Guest!'

For more information, click on the link here for times and tickets:


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