Beauty And The Beast proves another top-notch panto for Porthcawl – WalesOnline

Panto by the seaside is becoming as much a Christmas tradition as turkey with all the trimmings and arguing over the remote control and again the Grand Pavilion offering creates the requisite magic.

Beauty And The Beast may not be the most festive story that springs to mind. It is a bizarre tale really, the most famous case of Stockholm Syndrome in fairyland, as the eponymous Beauty is basically kidnapped by the handsome prince turned ugly monster before being eventually won over and everyone living happily ever after of course.

But this show sparkles in the telling thanks to the sumptuous costumes and magical sets we have come to expect from the annual residency of Imagine Theatre.

Without the big budgets and starry casts of its competitors, this show has to rely on sheer enthusiasm, some fabulous musical numbers and an ensemble that is straight out of the top drawer.

If there is nothing like a dame then Jolyon Dixon is just what the doctor ordered, indeed she proves herself the worst nursemaid in the world in a hilarious scene with Beauty’s ailing father, the suitably befuddled, Danny Grehan.

Dixon stood as a dame in the General Election apparently and is currently The Monster Raving Looney Party’s Minister for Pantomime and he/she certainly gets my vote.

Related: The Big, Welsh Pantomime Guide: All the information you need to know about 2015 Christmas pantos

Swanning about, in the expected series of increasingly outlandish costumes, as Dame Dorothy Do It, Dixon is a joy, linking instantly with the kids and indulging in a series of risqué asides we adults can appreciate too.

The rest of the cast is excellent as well. The lovable Nathan Guy is outstanding as Willy Do it, the bashful dunderhead’s love for Beauty may go unrequited, but he soon has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.

Joanna Lucas as Beauty is perfect, pleasant on the eye naturally, she brings a good blend of vulnerability and sassiness to a role that can be difficult to pitch.

The two young girls I watched the show with though only had eyes for hunky Liam Mulvey as the poor prince transformed into the Beast before eventually learning his lesson. The best and very handsome, according to Nina and Angharad, and who am I to argue?

Judging by the boos and hisses that accompany his arrival on stage, the panto’s bad guy, Eugene, a narcissist par excellence, has got things just about spot on. As too have Amy Burrows as the Enchantress and Aled Herbert as the frankly silly henchman Pimple.

The ensemble singing and dancing is exemplary throughout with special mention to the young dancers who amazed with their complicated routines and cuteness overload.

There are some great set-pieces. One Way Or Another and Uptown Funk had people out of their seats bopping and there is a brilliantly staged spooky scene with skeletons and assorted ghouls.

Christmas just would not be Christmas without a trip to the panto and, it has to be said, this production delivers and then some when it comes to top-notch family entertainment this festive season.

Beauty And The Beast runs until January 3. Call 01656 815995

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