I was expecting a panto, and all British readers will know what I mean (see the productive output of my former director Kevin Wood for details): Soap stars, reality TV stars, local comedians, ropey dance performances, boiled sweets thrown to the audience, grumbling audience participation, music provided by one overworked MD and a drummer committing offences against woodblocks… mostly, attended out a feeling of duty than any hope of being entertained.
So, theatre Clwyd’s show has a local comedian, audience participation, and a healthy dose of “he’s behind you”, but also 99% live music plaid damn well and proper loud by the cast, great songs integrated into the play (Of course the Beast would sing “I can’t live if living is without you” while Beauty is kept away from him, and, vitally, entirely without irony. Or Mariah Carey style abuse of the tune), knockabout humour, smut, gross out gags for the kids, and it doesn’t hurt that the story is a good version of one of the best fairy tales ever (look at the meaning, man, look at the meaning).
It’s a clear descendant of Return to the Forbidden Planet, which is certainly no bad thing, even, I believe, having quite some veterans of that touchstone of British musical theatre in it’s cast.
Any Forbidden Planet fans should go to this, any fans of well played rock should go to this, lovers of broad humour should go… in fact, the only people who should stay away are those wh othink a Christmas show should involve jobbing soap star, refugees from reality TV and theatre as an ordeal.
We have treatment programs available for those people.