A night of nuttiness at the Beauty and Beast Pantomime

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Dec 02, 2022 |

Photo: Supplied

If you are in need of a night of nuttiness, then the Beauty and Beast pantomime at Isaac Theatre Royal is just the ticket.

Creating shows aimed at both adults and children is no easy task, yet this production with its minimalist set, flawless lighting, and endless energetic cast held the attention of the audience until the very last rose petal fell.

Beauty and Beast uses sing-a-song tunes from the 70s up until today’s chart-topping hits, but they are given a pantomime makeover, thanks to Musical Director Hayden Taylor, and much to the delight of the audience of all ages.

Characters, including “evil” Sydney, the Wicked Witch, are highly entertaining.

Even the beast, played by Justin Rogers, is a charmer, despite his hideous love of Christchurch’s cycleways.

Photo: Supplied

The silliness and slapstick routines gave this production a Muppet Show tone, never delving deep, but providing enough nods to the original to provide plenty of belly laughs.

Erin Wells, who plays Belle was brilliant.

In some ways, her character held the show together with a sense of calmness, in contrast to the antics on stage.

Productions of this kind always lend themselves to getting a bit “shouty” but that was never the case with Beauty and the Beast, which made this show a very enjoyable experience.

Caleb Jago-Ward plays Tynes, a flamboyant, fabulous, slightly bitchy, but never cruel obsessed ‘woman’ Belle’s sister of course.

Photo: Supplied

His voice is incredible, changing from a camp drag queen, (I mean… beautiful woman) to showcasing his stunning vocal flexibility and range.

The script, written by Gregory Cooper, was carefully constructed to never be outright mean, which made this show clever.

Hillary Mouler performed a very energetic Wicked Witch, whose character was crafty, but never malicious.

Photo: Supplied

Her taunts at a particular Aussie airline went down well with the audience.

Alexandra, the Good Witch, played by Rebekah Head, at first came across as a goodie-two-shoes, but looks can be deceiving. Make no mistake, this Witch knows how to put others in their place with her clipped tone.

Photo: Supplied

Singing sensation Ali Harper played Mrs Pots.

Ali showed off her versatility as a performer with brilliant comedic timing along with some smooth dance moves, despite the obvious limitations of being dressed in an oversized steaming teapot.

Trubie-Dylan Smith plays Seymore Bottom, who acts as the default storyteller throughout the play. His facial expressions are highly entertaining, while Maurice, played by Edwin Beats, provided plenty of “dad jokes.”

The ensemble was fantastic too, giving it their all, singing and dancing highly choreographed exhausting performances.

Rangiora High School student Campbell Richardson’s energy was incredible!

The audience interaction was just enough to keep kids interested, without overwhelming the adults with “I can’t hear you.”

This show is safe for kids, with just enough subtle jokes to keep everyone entertained, making this the perfect co-viewing experience.

What: GMG Productions, Isaac Theatre Royal and Skope present BEAUTY AND THE BEAST!

Where: Christchurch’s Isaac Theatre Royal

When: December 2023

Book tickets here:

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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