Make a date with Beauty and the Beast

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Beauty and the Beast - Rotherham Civic Theatre

If the kids are to get anything this Christmas make sure it is a date with Beauty and the Beast.

Combine a Disney classic with a touch of Christmas magic, slapstick comedy and men in drag and you have the perfect ingredients for a fun family day out.

Swapping the cobbles of Weatherfield for Rotherham Civic Theatre, Oliver Mellor (Doctor Matt Carter in Coronation Street) takes on the role of Beast in this year’s pantomime and not only wins over Belle but the entire theatre with his commanding leading man performance.

His impressive solos were a surprise for his fans who had only ever seen him treating patients on Corrie.

Kara Kingsward-Hughes, playing Belle, is equally as impressive and her vocals would not be out of place on a West End stage.

But as with all pantos it’s the laughter that raises the roof at the Civic, with scripted jokes galore and comedy moments throughout to keep the audience laughing.

But it’s the seemingly unscripted (or just very well acted) mishaps which had the theatre in hysterics.

Mark Hudson, playing Dame Dolly Dolittle; Jamie Lemetti, playing Funny French Franc and Alan Mirren, in the role of Clarence Casanova, linked up well throughout the entire performance but were outstanding in one particular scene involving water, flour and copious amounts of shaving foam.

Dame Dolly’s stilettos did not mix well with the slippery stage, providing some of the biggest laughs of the show.

Youngsters in the audience also enjoyed being soaked with giant water guns and catching sweets thrown out from the stage.

With such huge talent on the stage in the principal roles, what better inspiration could there be for the young dancers treading the boards for the first time alongside them?

The youngsters were step perfect and worthy of the huge applause they earned.

Is this the best panto around? Oh yes it is...

Runs until January 12.