It had it all- singing, dancing, custard pies, bubbles, balloons and Beauty and the Beast.
What more could the audience, who attended Lovelace Theatre Group’s pantomime last week, want from a show?
On a wet and windy Thursday evening I joined an enthusiastic audience to see my first local production at Hucknall’s John Godber Centre.
The group’s interpretation of the Disney classic by Limelight Scripts was an entertaining one. It was filled with music and dance by a cast of variable ages and definitely was a night full of family fun.
I found myself hissing and booing as Witch Greenfly took to the stage and I realised half way through the show that my mouth seemed to be set with a smile, which I became a little self-conscious of as I didn’t have a partner to share the laughs with.
But I dismissed this fact in favour of fun and carried on regardless even singing along to the Wiggly Woo song!
The story unfolds as ‘beauty’ Belle, played by Rebecca Mitchell, refuses the advances of vain Victor Vandare, prefering someone with ‘beauty on the inside’.
Ed Turner played the role of Victor perfectly, strutting around the stage like John Travolta strutted down Broadway in Saturday Night Fever. He puffed out his chest to perfection (with a little help from wardrobe) like a peacock parading his proud display.
But it was to no avail as Belle consistently rejected his efforts.
Victor’s charm didn’t go unoticed by the girls from the village though, including Marzipan and Charlotte, Belle’s ugly step-sisters.
Tom Morley and Daniel Knight made a great double act with comedy lines of ‘a la carte? more like dustbin cart’, which kept the panto moving.
Belle was also cast well, as Rebecca managed to be genteel, unassuming and sing sweetly. And Gaston gave a great French accent and certainly looked the part.
The typical panto dame character was a runaway success as ever with Dolly Donut, performed by Pete O’Kane, bouncing all over everybody and everything with costumes that would make Dame Edna jealous. His riotous acts provided the many slapstick moments as he commanded the audience’s attention.
Beast, played by Richard Alton was a little disappointing as he failed to deliver a convincing roar and Beast rages.
But there was one member of the cast who I couldn’t steer my attention from - a young lad who was a villager and ‘Louis Spence’ character.
He is without doubt one to watch in future years as he has great rhythm and stage presence throughout. His musicality was evident as he danced and swayed and hip-hopped in various scenes.
My only criticism of the show was when it came to the singing. Despite Belle, Victor, Beast and Prince Rupert (Jess Wall) having ood voices, the decision to sing over the original instead of using just the backing track was a strange one as the stage stars attempted to compete with the original artist.
The group’s voices were good enough to sing independently but maybe they lacked the confidence to go it alone.
However, this wasn’t too detrimental to the overall effect which was enhanced with catchy choreography, costumes and characterisation.
Lovelace Theatre Group’s pantomime without doubt offered fantastic value for money that spans all ages offering family fun that doesn’t require batteries, consoles or flatscreens.
Don’t miss their next one!