Beauty and the Beast is a traditional family pantomime written and directed by James Barry – marking his fourteenth Christmas production at the venue. This enchanting story-driven show features original songs written by Simon Slater, laugh-out-loud comedy and audience interaction aplenty is great fun for all ages.
This year’s cast includes the return of the hugely popular Julian Eardley as the show’s Dame; The Great British Pantomime Awards-nominated actor Ed Thorpe (who many will remember as Smee from 2017’s sell-out Peter Pan); and rising star Eleanor Bennett (Wendy in last year’s Peter Pan).
The theatre also welcomes Winchester panto newcomers Nathan Turner (Prince/Beast), Alice Bonifacio (Fairy Fifi), Tim Faulkner (Dad), Sarah Annakin (Malevolent) and Kristopher Milnes (Bouffon). The professional actors are joined by a support of local young performers.
The story tells of a vain and handsome prince who when he rejects the advances of a wicked witch is turned into a hideous Beast. Only one thing can save him – someone must fall in love with him before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose. Can Fairy Fifi bring Belle and the Beast together in time, or will the evil Malevolent win the day?
This year’s run includes several Access Performances. There are two BSL signed performances for deaf and hearing impaired audiences and an Audio Described performance for visually impaired audiences where audience members can listen to a narrator describing the action on stage. There are also two Relaxed performances. Relaxed performances have an informal atmosphere and allow people who may need to move around, make a noise of take a break the chance to see a show without worrying. The auditorium lights will be brighter and loud noise and bright, flashing lights will be removed. This is ideal for those on the autistic spectrum, or with sensory or communication disorders, a learning disability or anyone who may be afraid of the dark.
The sponsors of this year’s pantomime are The Brooks Shopping.
Beauty and the Beast will be at Theatre Royal Winchester until Sunday 6 January 2019. Tickets are available from theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk and from the box office 01962 840 440.