Beauty and the Beast is the 2009/10 pantomime for the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.
This page will be updated with backstage news and insider gossip from both Imagine and the venue. Keep checking back for updates!
You can find lots more photos on our Beauty and the Beast Facebook photo album.
The second review is out
8th December 2009
The following review was written by Suzanne Jackson for the Coventry Evening Telegraph.
"Beauty and the Beast is a perfect family panto; oh yes it is!
ALTHOUGH the story has been around in one form or another for nearly 300 years, the definitive version of this love-conquers-all fairytale is the 1991 Disney film.
That’s the standard by which any panto will be judged – and the Belgrade meets the challenge triumphantly.
You could practically touch the pre-show excitement as children bounced around in their seats waving glowing swords and windmills, but once the action started they were spellbound.
Our sparkly narrator was the Enchantress, played by Josephine Warren, who punishes the handsome but arrogant prince by condemning him to live as a beast until he can find love and be loved. The transformation scene is handled splendidly – just the right amount of fear factor to enthrall the elder children without scaring their younger siblings out of their wits.
The Beast then takes Beauty’s father prisoner, telling him that he can only regain his freedom by sending back the first person he sees in exchange. As blind dates go it’s a bit extreme, but it certainly moves the plot along nicely.
Cue the comic relief with the entrance of dame specialist Andy Hockley as Dorothy Do It and Charlie Ryan as son Willie Do It, with the traditional repertoire of gravity-defying costumes, polished ad-libs, jokes, singalongs and other shenanigans to bring out the booing/hissing child in us all.
I have to confess a soft-spot for one of the baddies, Andrew Gordon-Watkins, whose stage presence and brilliant singing more than compensated for his scary resemblance to Pop Idol’s Darius.
I had prepared my daughter for her theatre outing with numerous viewings of the Disney video and although that helped her to understand the plot it left her puzzled as to what had happened to the singing teapot and candlestick!
The one slight snag emerged later that night when I informed my daughter ‘right, it’s your bedtime’ and quick as a flash she countered “oh, no it isn’t”."
The first review is out
8th December 2009
Belgrade Theatre puts on another panto beauty
By Martin Winch
BBC Coventry & Warwickshire
"The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry has served up another beauty this yuletide with their latest pantomime offering.
The theatre has a proven track record of producing pantos of the highest quality, seemingly setting the bar by which others should be judged.
With Beauty and the Beast, the writers haven't veered far from their well-used, yet successful formula.
And I would even go as far to say this production is the best I've been along to at the venue in the noughties.
A veteran of wearing over-the-top women's clothing, Andy Hockley simply shone as Dame Dorothy Do-It and, as I've come to expect over the years, really stole the show.
Hockley's stooge was Charlie Ryan in the role of Will Do-It, and the pair took centre stage for much of the mirth and merriment.
With such big characters on stage it's often hard for those in the title roles to make an impact, but I think Nicola Bryan as Beauty succeeded.
It's clear every effort had been put into creating a wonderful set and the Beast's costume was fantastically grotesque.
Where this festive production differed from its predecessors was with the role of villain. The writers came up with a couple of candidates - Eugene and Pimple (Andrew Gordon-Watkins and Kevin McGreevy) - who I actually empathised with more than I suspect I was supposed too. Maybe this says more about my character!
It's clear that the days of the Belgrade putting on a decent festive shows aren't behind them.
If anything, this show has raised the bar again."
The panto is open!
1st December 2009
The show is up and running! Last night saw the opening of Beauty and the Beast! We're not going to give anything away just yet but let's just say, if you're off to see the Belgrade, remember to take your best singing voice with you, to join in with the Dame's own unique version of 'The Hokey Cokey'!
Have a great time, all involved in the show, and thanks for all your hard work during the rehearsal period. xxx
Belgrade panto Facebook fan page, follow the Blog, and watch a video!
17th November 2009
Read the Belgrade panto blog.
Iain Lauchlan who's the director and co-writer of Beauty and the Beast at the Belgrade Theatre, talks about the first day of rehearsals.
Rehearsals have started
9th November 2009
Off we go for another year! Cast all present and correct, and following a read through of the script, rehearsals were up and running!
We'll keep the gossip coming from the theatre as we receive it - check back for updates.
One spoiler we can tell you is something to do with the Hokey Cokey....
The panto is fully cast!
8th September 2009
We are delighted to announce the cast of Beauty and the Beast at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.
The Flyer is out
5th September 2009
The set is designed!
6th July 2009
Sarah Burton has worked her amazing magic on the Belgrade set again this year. It's stunning! BUT we're sworn to secrecy - so you'll have to come and see it for yourself if you want to catch a glimpse!
The set model is here with us today as we've got our special effect builders in, working through the transformation scene at the end of the panto... again, top secret stuff, so you'll have to come and see for yourself live at the Belgrade this Christmas if you want to know more!