Battling Beasts give kids a beautiful night out...

Beauty and the Beast at Rotherham Civic Theatre
Beauty and the Beast at Rotherham Civic Theatre
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Beauty and the Beast is always a popular Christmas show and there’s two very different versions on in South Yorkshire.

Rotherham Civic has gone for a traditional pantomime with TV stars in the cast and plenty of slapstick. Down the road at the Barnsley Civic, they’ve gone for a new imagining of an old story.

There’s also a third version, featuring Tina Barrett of S Club 7, at the Pomegranate Theatre in Chesterfield.

In Rotherham they are pleased that the show is getting rave reviews and say that more than 22,000 tickets have been sold so far.

Theatre manager Mark Scott said: “Despite being hard at work preparing and performing in the pantomime, the cast, who by Christmas Day will have performed in 40 of the manic two-and-a-half-hour shows, are all looking forward to their Christmas Day at home and then continuing with their performances throughout the festive season.

“With over 25 people on stage and dozens more behind the scenes, from the first rehearsals in November to the end of the run mid-January, the cast and crew come together as one big family, something which helps everyone through the busy, but fun, schedule, especially at Christmas time.”

Coronation Street heart-throb Oliver Mellor said: “So far, the audiences have been amazing. I love a panto audience, there are so many families here having a fantastic time and the warmth and laughter really gives us energy to keep on delivering a fun time for everyone.”

Actress Kara Kingsward-Hughes, who plays Belle in the show, added: “It’s great that I get to play Belle, she was one of my favourite princesses growing up and now I get to wear her beautiful dresses and see all the kids come dressed as their favourite characters too!”

The show is on until January 9.

Rotherham box office: call 01709 823621 go to Rotherham Visitor Centre in All Saints’ Square or go online to www.RotherhamTheatres.co.uk.

Meanwhile in Barnsley, East Midlands-based theatre company Engine House is presenting a show written by Olivier award-winning writer Mike Kenny.

He has also adapted Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel and hopes that yet another of his family reworkings can meet the expectations of its South Yorkshire audience.

The show features music from Charlie and Lola musical director Julian Butler, and performed by a powerfully-voiced cast of just four actors.

Beauty is a bit of a looker but she’s also lazy, greedy and spoilt beyond belief. So, when her father loses their family fortune and they are forced to move to a cottage in the country with no servants, it seems like things couldn’t get any worse.

However, her Dad then makes a bargain with a Beast and Beauty must go to his castle as a prisoner, or face losing her Dad forever. Trapped in the castle far from everyone she knows, frightened and alone, Beauty begins to hate the Beast, but who could ever love a monster like him?

CEO of The Civic, Helen Ball, said: “This is my first Christmas at The Civic and I’m really looking forward to welcoming local families to what will be a truly magical experience and a fantastic production of Beauty and the Beast.”

The show runs until December 29.

Tickets are on sale via The Civic box office on Hanson Street or call 01226 327 000 or go online to www.barnsleycivic.co.uk.