BEAUTY and the Beast makes a triumphant return to The King’s panto repertoire with this fast-paced, laugh a minute retelling of the tale as old as time.
Beauty and The Beast
KING’S THEATRE, Leven Street
* * * * * *
Played out on one of the most magical sets to grace the Leven Street stage for some time, the story of the beautiful Belle and the vain Prince Calum unfolds.
When the selfish Prince is discourteous to a poor old beggar woman she reveals herself to be an enchantress, transforming him into a beast, his only hope of returning to normal being if he can find someone to love him before the last petal falls from a mysterious red rose.
As Belle, Gillian Parkhouse is a revelation. In her second panto season at The King’s, this year she has been allowed to demonstrate her comic abilities to the full and proves every bit the match panto stalwarts Allan Stewart and Grant Stott. Sassy and feisty her Belle is all girl power and determination.
Full of bravado and bluster, Stott’s latest panto baddie, Flash Boaby, storms around the stage determined to win the hand of Belle and to kill the Beast, perfectly playing the audience to elicit boos throughout.
His revealing Trunk of Truth routine is a highlight of the night.
However, it has to be said that this is Allan Stewart’s show with The King’s resident Dame firing on all cylinders.
A wicked wordplay, hilarious haunted bedroom scene, magnificent mime routine and a show stopping song-sheet (worth the ticket price alone, it drew stunned gasps from the audience) find Stewart in peerless form cementing his legendary status as The King’s longest serving Dame.
With tight direction by Ed Curtis, lively choreography by Alan Harding and a spectacular Act 1 finale from The Twins FX this production fairly zips along with the ensemble playing their part its success too.
Jacqueline Hughes’ warm and engaging Enchantress drives the narrative forward and both she and Chris Cowley as Prince Callum and The Beast have excellent singing voices.
It might be more than 70 years since The King’s last chose Beauty and the Beast for their Christmas panto, this sparkling top notch production makes the wait well worth while.
Run ends 20 January 2019
Join our Facebook group Our Edinburgh to share images and news from and around the Capital