beast and beauty

Sion Lloyd as the beast and Ruby Eva as Beauty 

Beauty and the Beast

Belgrade Main House Coventry


Brush up your Scottish because Belgrade Panto time is here! It marks the start of Christmas for me and the Belgrade Pantomime is reliably funny, traditional and a great story well told.

Iain Lauchlan as writer, director and Dame Dolly Mixture is his usual self with a great laugh, fabulous costumes – best ever I thought – and his usual side-kick – quite literally – in Craig Hollingsworth as Silly Billy celebrating 10 years at the Belgrade. Last year’s panto was in Zoomland and it’s so lovely to be part of the real thing again.

We’re in Middle Widdle on the Piddle and that sets the scene nicely for the level. Harold (David Gilbrook) sets off into the forest where there is rumoured to be a Prince transformed into a Beast (Sion Lloyd) because he was unable to love or show compassion.

Five hundred years have passed and the Enchantress (Katy Anna Southgate - beautiful voice) reveals that, if he can love, the end of his transformation is in sight. Harold’s daughter Beauty (Ruby Eva) is left behind at the mercy of not-so-bright lothario Maurice (Peter Watts) and his mate Grub (Miriam Grace Edwards) as the ‘sillies’.

ian and

Iain Lauchlan, writer, director and Dame Dolly Mixture with Craig Hollingsworth as Silly Billy

Maurice has set Harold up by providing a dodgy map and carefully not mentioning the wolves. Arriving at the castle Harold picks a beautiful red rose to take back to Beauty but the Beast notices and, rather than kill him there and then, makes him promise to send the first living thing that greets him – inevitably it’s Beauty…

Pretty much the whole village races to rescue Beauty from the Beast’s clutches. But Beauty doesn’t seem that fussed about being rescued…

It’s lovely to see real musicians in the pit and some really great scenes. I love the raucous If I were not in Pantomime song but bet Silly Billy is black and blue by the end of each performance – it’s very, very funny.

There are also great songs and the children involved singing and dancing do a great job. The skeleton dance is amazing too and really magical. There’s plenty for the audience to do and in particular a poor chap called Ryan who did a runner at half time… Note to self and anyone else; don’t sit at the front. Well done, team, this is another winner. To 08-01-22.

Jane Howard


Index page Belgrade Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre