A PACKED crowd was taken on a roller-coaster of emotions when the Norbury Players put on their annual pantomime Beauty and the Beast.
This was a break from the norm because, as well as the usual comedy, audience participation, music and dancing, there were plenty of poignant moments in this production.
A talented and very versatile cast took to the stage at the Friar Street venue and there were fantastic performances from everyone involved.
Dame Dolly Jolly was played well by David Goode who built up a wonderful rapport with the audience, with some great one-liners.
Sophie Vick and Kelly Robinson produced plenty of laughs as squabbling sisters Chardonnay and Lambrini who threw perfected put-downs at each other throughout the evening.
The chemistry between their characters was excellent and the scene in the salon, with the siblings and Dame Jolly was one of the many highlights of the evening, thanks to some well thought-out and brilliantly delivered visual gags.
Emily Jeffrey generated plenty of boos as Countess Cruella and, likewise, Kate Goode, was sound as Fairy Rose, reassuring those watching that everything was going to turn out well in the end.
The largest cheer of the evening went to Jack Gandy as Jacques and the chorus with his lip-sync and their dance routine of pop song Uptown Funk.
And there was a ‘horse-ome’ performance by put in by Jane Barnes and Darryl Bradford which had the audience in hysterics. With dancing and other well-choreographed and well-timed movements and reactions, it is safe to say you would struggle to find a more talented pantomime horse in the Midlands, possibly even the country.
But the portrayals of the evening were by Carl Smythe as Jean Claude and Glyn Diggett as The Beast.
The audience loved the strutting and swaggering John Claude almost as much as the arrogant character loved himself and he kept them tittering along every time he entered the fray.
But, as mentioned above, this show was not just about the laughs and there were some very powerful moments.
Among them were when the spell was cast and the prince turned into the beast and the touching moments as Belle – played well by Alisha James – fell in love with him.
The pair’s vocal performances were also the best of the evening and it got even better when they joined their voices for their duet.
The use of screens was very clever in this production – both at the beginning in the introduction and as the play neared its conclusion. On screens either side of the stage was an image of the rose and you could hear sharp intakes of breath from the audience every time a petal dropped off, signalling time was running out for The Beast to be loved.
This ‘funny and sad’ pantomime definitely offers something you would not find in others and – also worth a mention – more ‘bell’ puns than you swing a clapper at.
The remaining performances take place at 7.30pm tomorrow (Sunday), from
Thursday to next Sunday (January 14 to 17) and from January 21 to 21.
There are also matinees on the next two Saturdays.
For more information or tickets, which are £10 (£8 concessions), should visit www.norburytheatre.co.uk or call 01905 770154.