Its That Time of Year Again, Oh no it isn't! Oh yes it is!

Beauty and The Beast,

Theatre Severn

December 10th to January 8th (See Brochure)

 

So the fields have turned to concrete and the water into stone. Deeply ensconced in the worst winter we have had for years, Shrewsbury panto goers were warmed by the hilarity and genius of this year’s Pantomime, Beauty and The Beast. It appears laughter is as good as the central heating that we all used to be able to afford. The audience literally glowed with mirth as Brad Fitt and his crew lead us through the funniest pantomime that we have been fortunate to see at Theatre Severn, possibly since the Panto first opened its seasonal doors many years ago.

Initially one was rather surprised at the choice of story. Beauty and the Beast, right? Who knows the full story? Aware that Disney has brought this to the ready receivership of our young, us older curmudgeons may have wondered what they were in store for. However, one has learned to trust the writing of Paul Hendy. So unaware of the narrative was no deterrent and it took all of the opening few moments with the delightful Fairy Nuff  (Jo Osmond) to win the audience over and one was; aware one was amongst pantomime brilliance.

The unique selling point of the Theatre Severn Panto is the annually recurring,  hilarious gags and the understanding the audience has with regular Dame, Brad Fitt. Naturally there is a plethora of new gags but seeing Brad handle the classics is a joy..

This show is so beautifully cast that if one had use of Fairy Nuff’s magic wand one could not have cast it better. It is hard to ignore the fact the Shrewsbury are so fortunate to welcome Brad Fitt back year on year, this reviewer has said it before he is possibly one of the funniest men on the planet and his one-man show had already dazzled audiences earlier on this year. People look forward to his return and I would defy anyone not to laugh at his incredible stage presence and that is even before he has said a word.

Of course, the show is about so much more than Brad, whilst he is a crucial part; the cast in general all brought something exciting and new to the stage. Belle played by Samantha Dorrance, brought her triple threat of acting, dancing and singing into the mix and one found oneself routing for her always. Kane Oliver Parry brought real pathos and sorrow to his poor entrapped Beast. He could move well and sing beautifully to boot.

One is delighted to say however that the dancing and singing from all players, be it principal or chorus is utterly superb, giving this already well acted show the gold seal that every panto should carry.

Panto is such a unique artform the only discipline on stage, that calls for both hilarity and serious drama. When we were aware that Beast was going to die, one was caught in the moment and moved by the tragedy. But of course, it’s Christmas and there has to be a happy ending, one convention used to highlight that happiness is to bring a balance with an equally engaging darker drama too. Great to say, Hendy rarely fails to set this balance and brings to us a thoroughly modern show adhering to conventions as old as Comedia D’el Arte itself.

Long may the tradition of bringing such great Pantomime to Shrewsbury continue. No matter how our town changes with the times, isn’t a lovely thought that for over a century or more of Saturday’s leading up to Christmas, children have been taken into the town by their parents to watch the Pantomime. This isn’t just a Christmas show this an art form and Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn is maintaining a tradition that needs to live forever. In the hands of this team of top designers, great musicians, wonderful wardrobe workers, stunning stagehands and a powerful production team, they have only gone and done it again. I wish five was a bigger number because this show is worth so much more than the five stars that I awarding. Next year is Jack and The Beanstalk and already this one reviewer cannot wait.

From myself, Owen J. Lewis and all at loveshrewsbury.com I want to wish you all a wonderful happy Christmas and a warm, warm New Year.

This is a Five Star Review

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Three times Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. See more on www.ojlwritingservices.co.uk.

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