Beauty and the Beast

Sheringham Little Theatre

> Sheringham Little Theatre

For the most part, it was a strangely muted occasion.

I had the feeling that actors and audience alike were searching for – but never quite got hold of – that special ingredient which transforms basic panto ingredients into an entertaining feast.

We found it during the community singing before the final scene, when a four-year-old girl called Rhiannon came on stage with three other children from the audience (Victoria, nine Daisy, seven, and Kirsty five,) and stole the show.

As actor Steven Day sat down beside her to talk about what she wants for Christmas, they gave us genuine charm and laughter and her embrace with Fairy Kindheart was truly a magical moment.

This was the Little Theatre's first fully professional panto, produced by PDM Entertainments, and starring the popular BBC Look East's weather presenter, Julie Reinger.

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Mark Hastings, as panto dame Dotty Dolittle, wore his many-splendoured costumes with great panache;

David McClelland was suitably dashing as Clarence Cassanova, making the local girls (the beguiling Lisa Jayn Dancers and junior choristers) go all giggly and weak at the knees, while his side-kick Funny French Franc (Steven Day)

was energetic throughout.

Ruth Baxter as Michelle, in her debut performance, looked the part and sang well, with Alex Ruocco as Prince Jean Pierre (and Beast) transforming himself from Mr. Nasty to loving husband with the help of the good fairy and hairy headpiece.

For my 15 year-old daughter, this was the “best panto” she had ever seen, while for my 13-year-old and myself, it will be four-year-old Rhiannon we remember.

t Beauty and the Beast continues until January 3. Further details from the box office on 01263 822347 or