Beauty and the Beast is a roaring success as Nottingham Playhouse panto ‘continues to outdo itself’​​​​​​​

With audience members desperate for some festive silliness after missing out last Christmas, it’s only natural that expectations are high for this year’s panto installment of Beauty and the Beast.

By Lucy Roberts
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 10:47 am
Beauty and the Beast, as played by Lisa Ambalavanar and Scott Armstrong.
Beauty and the Beast, as played by Lisa Ambalavanar and Scott Armstrong.

But as usual the Playhouse absolutely fails to disappoint, with the show’s larger-than-life characters and jokes aplenty being instantly devoured by the audience from the lifting of the opening curtain.

After all, how better to get in the mood for Christmas than shouting your heart out at a man with a thick Nottinghamshire accent in a monstrous wig and platform shoes?

This year’s glittery extravaganza sees the well-loved Playhouse panto continuing its tradition of outdoing itself every year – brought to life by a strong cast, catchy songs and a whole heap of hilarity.

The outrageous Madame Fifi, as played by well-loved Playhouse stalwart John Elkington.

As expected from a pantomime, the majority of jokes are delightfully terrible and the costumes seem to be a new level of outrageous.

The show is also peppered with local references, including nods to Hockley, Hucknall and Nottingham City Transport, helping the audience feel even closer to the action.

The cast is very strong this time around, with each member giving it their all to put on a cracking show. Particular praise goes to troublesome sister duo Florence (Clarice Julianda) and Veronique (Megan Cerys-Holland), who command the stage with their love-to-hate sassy personalities.

And of course a mention must be given to panto stalwart John Elkington (Madame Fifi), who always provides a constant source of laughter to keep the show together. He (or she, as the case may be) makes a great double act with the eccentric yet overwhelmingly charming Maurice, as played by Tom Hopcroft.

The troublesome sisters Florence (Clarice Julianda) and Veronique (Megan Cerys-Holland).

A highlight of the show is the pair performing an extensive rendition of Nottingham legend LadBaby’s ‘We Built this City on Sausage Rolls’, which sees the audience wholeheartedly joining in. The fun musical number is complete with sausage roll microphones – three words I bet you never thought you’d see strung together.

The show is also jam-packed full of other musical bangers for the audience to sing along to, as well as plenty of classic opportunities for shouting “he’s behind you!” and “boooo!”

The Great British pantomime is the only kind of show at which you learn to tolerate children screaming in your ear the entire time. In this case, it only strengthens the sense that everyone is enjoying themselves.

The show is not just for the kids though, with subtle innuendos and improvisation from brilliant Playhouse newcomer Jacques the Lad (Myles Miller) and beautiful vocal solos to compliment a heartwarming love story from Belle (Lisa Ambalavanar) and the Beast (Scott Armstrong).

The show is jam-packed with musical numbers, including chart hits and festive favourites.

An absolute festive treat, this ‘tale as old as time’ is enough to invoke the spirit of Christmas in any viewer, leaving children spellbound and adults still chuckling to themselves on the way back to the car.

Beauty and the Beast is running at Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday, January 15. You can book tickets here or by calling the box office on 0115 941 9419.

Photos by Helen Maybanks.