Beauty and the Beast

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

> Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

If you want a fun family panto in the traditional style then look no further.

The Georgian atmosphere of the theatre adds to the richness of this colourful and vibrant production with a French theme.

Of course there are plenty of boos and hisses for the wicked wizard and these did not all come from the youngsters in the audience, probably more from the adult kids!

The imposing Andrew Westfield, who owed much of his act to Queen's many compositions, played the evil one Scaramouche with a Machiavellian wit.

At one stage he turned the show into a rock and roll gig.

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The impish one was Pascal (Bennett Andrews) who quickly struck up a rapport with all the audience ensuring of course the enthusiastic and obligatory participation.

There was a great double act (not quite his and hers T-shirts) with Croissant (Scott Cripps) and Baguette (Jane Lesley) whose shared sentences and tap dancing were great fun to watch.

Of course no panto is complete without

the Dame, and James Nickerson did us all proud with his totally individual version of Monique.

The fact that his act did not always go to plan brought out even more humour, especially when the headgear had a mind of its own!

Of course the panto follows the traditional theme of good overcoming evil but with plenty of sticky moments along the tricky path.

The poor old Beast (William Kenning) finally returned to his Princely role with the help of his sister, Princess Rose, (Gemma Sandy) who was able to see him happily in the arms of Beauty (Caroline Keiff).

There were excellent performances from the Asterix and Obelix Choruses.

The stage direction was imaginative with many a 'picture' being formed from the groups on the set.

You will leave with a smile on your face, a feel-good factor and be reassured that panto still works for the young and not so young alike in 2004.

t The pantomime runs until January 16