Saturday, 3 December 2016

Review: Beauty & the Beast at Newcastle Tyne Theatre

Double Trouble For Geordie Panto

Beauty & the Beast
Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Until Friday 30th December 2016

The traditional Geordie pantomime has twice the fun this year with two panto dames and two daft sons to cheer with, and two baddies to boo. The Tyne Theatre crowd was given plenty of chance to interact with the wonderful cast.

First on stage was Emily Swan, as the glamorous Belle, who showed off her vocal talent. She was supported with help of the dancers and live musicians Michael Watson and Doug Morgan. The first impression is that the set and costumes look great, the dancing is energetic and singing is good. It feels like the canny pantos I was taken to in the 70s – and that’s not a bad thing as I have many fond memories of those shows.

Bob Stott
There is real experience in the panto dame department. Maxie Peters is not only Lottie Stottie, but also the director and writer of the show. Lottie’s sister Dottie Stottie is performed by Bob Stott. Between them there are literally decades of experience and this is apparent as they respond to one another as a double act. The jokes may be old but they’re golden too.

Each dame has a son who is not the sharpest pencil in the case. Norman Stottie is played by the really engaging Charlie Richmond who has little difficulty in getting the younger members of the crowd on side. Here’s the thing about the Tyne Theatre panto – it is the Newcastle panto that attracts the younger families, and Maxie Peter’s writing reflects that with jokes that you’re not worried about your young ones hearing. Returning from last year’s panto, Lewis Denny completes group as Le Fou Stottie and he has his share of the laughs too.

No panto is complete without someone to boo and disagree with. This show has the evil landlady Cruella La Poo Poo and her son, who wants to marry Belle against her wishes, Gaston La Poo Poo.  Needless to say the surname is a source for numerous jokes. Jayne Mackenzie regularly whips up the audience for another round of “oh yes, I will” whilst Gary Walsh poses as the egocentric and deluded son.

The cast is completed with James Hedley as the Beast/Prince Sid, Kevin O’Keefe as Belle’s father Maurice Meringue and Sarah Challoner and Sarah-Jane White as Tamara and Tutu. The ensemble has no weak links and James produces a real highlight with his solo number in the second half.

The show has four sets of youngsters dancing and this afternoon’s group did not put a foot wrong.

Beauty And The Beast is a classic family-friendly panto that knows its audience well. From Charlie and Lewis throwing sweets to the crowd through to their general silliness, the kids in the audience are engaged. The show is glamorous too. In short there’s plenty of jokes, plenty of fun and, of course, the 12 days of Christmas (the first one we’ve witnessed so far this year). This year’s show has all of the ingredients for a family show.

Review by Stephen Oliver


Stalls & Grand Circle: Adults £22, Concessions £20. Upper Circle: Adults £16, Concessions £14. Boxes £132, groups get 1 ticket free for every 10 booked. (plus booking fees when booking online and over the phone)
The Tyne Theatre & Opera House Box Office is open 10am-3:30pm Monday to Friday and event days.
Booking and Information Line: 0844 2491 000 (10am – 6pm Monday to Friday)

Stop press:
The pantomime fun returns to the Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House in 2017 with:
 The Wizard of Oz, the Easter Panto with Bobby Davro and Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh & Pudsey from 15th to 16th April 2017 – tickets & details:
·        Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs which sees the return of Charlie Richmond as Muddles 8th – 31st December  - tickets & details:


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