There’s not going to be many occasions in life where an orangutan and a tea-cup have a dance-off or a fox and assorted other creatures (woodland and otherwise) launch into a big song and dance number that gets the entire audience on their feet.
But Oxford Playhouse’s production of Beauty and the Beast does just that in a gloriously chaotic and hilarious panto that grabs you by the first dance number and doesn’t let go until you’re smiling from ear to ear.
Last year’s production of Dick Whittington earnt the Playhouse rave reviews and this year’s production should definitely achieve the same. As a panto it was the most fun you can have in a theatre for two hours.
The production was directed by Steve Marmion and it showed that Steve definitely has a passion for panto. The scenery and costumes were awash with colour and The Beast himself was mind-bogglingly huge and beastly. A definite sight to behold.
Everything to do with panto was all present and correct from audience participation, a panto dame (this year as a teacup), an ‘it’s behind you’ section and jokes aplenty. In fact there were so many jokes that it seemed like the audience was constantly bombarded with innuendo and wordplay with only a few falling flat (a weird Mexican scene comes to mind) which is a real credit to the writers with punchlines coming every few seconds.
As with all pantos the storyline itself came second place as fun took precedent over everything else. But, that is no bad thing. We all know the story of Beauty and the Beast so we would much prefer having another joke or dance number shoehorned in.
Special mention needs to go to the aforementioned orangutan who was the glue that held the show together.
But it was the song and dance numbers that made Beauty and The Beast really shine. Choreographed to perfection they were all toe-tapping numbers that were a treat for the audience.
And by the end of the show the entire audience were on their feet as they sang and danced along to the fantastic number being performed. It was fab stuff.
An Oxford Playhouse production
Written and Directed by Steve Marmion
Age guideline 5 to 105!
Fri 29 Nov 2019 – Sun 12 Jan 2020, Main Stage
For tickets visit www.oxfordplayhouse.com