REVIEW: Beauty and The Beast, Stephen Hill Methodist Church

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Beautiful Belle, played by a confident Emily Oldfield, falls for the inner beauty of the grumpy, misunderstood Beast, a nice turn from Lizzie Bensa. It’s a timely message from Stephen Hill’s youngsters in an increasingly image-obsessed world.

It’s a family friendly atmosphere with a warm, community-based vibe. The young cast equip themselves admirably.

Bubble and Squeak, cameos from Kate Livesey and Tasha Dikran, are on hand to literally ensure the panto checklist is adhered to. So there’s the audience participation with “Hokey Cokey”, corny one-liners, local in-jokes galore and cries of “Oh no it isn’t”, although “He’s behind you” was absent without a note from his mum.

Lydia Brown and Joanna Livesey almost steal the show from the eponymous romantic leads as a wonderfully over the top wannabe womaniser Baron and a decidedly dastardly Madame Vol-au-vent.

The music is bang up to date. Even the Baron steals a chat up line from Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe.

The ever-popular Rihanna’s Disturbia also goes down well. The choreography is courtesy of Isabel MacAskill.

Lucas de Brouwer is a good sport. He’s the only male and naturally camps it up in drag as Dame Blancmange. De Brouwer keeps the costume department busy with his extensive dress collection. Poor Jack, played by Poppy Carter tries to keep a safe distance from his romantic overtures.

Directors Helen and Ian Delaney have produced a fun show for all the family.