Friday, 21 December 2018

Interview with Mark Paterson

The Grand Theatre’s gVlog presenter Mark Paterson caught up with Panto stars of Beauty and the Beast; Nick Wilton, Ben Harlow and Marcus Knibbs to to talk all things Panto! From rehearsals to Nick's costumes!
Watch Here: 🎞

Monday, 17 December 2018


Favourite panto moment so far this year: 
at a packed schools’ morning show in the moment 
just before Beast’s dance with Belle. 
You could hear a pin drop as he takes her hands, 
then one little voice breaks the silence - 



Saturday, 15 December 2018

Review 4: Theatres Online

The perfect festive pantomime
By: Heidi Archer

The tale of Beauty and the Beast has made its way to Blackpool giving families across the region a magical night to remember. We were lucky enough to catch the show last week and are still smiling at the memories. This take on Beauty and the Beast is true to the original love story between Belle & the Beast, keeping the fans at bay. But in this magical adventure, you will find yourself on a real rollercoaster of emotions - in fits of laughter one minute then reaching for the tissues the next. 

From start to finish, the cast were dedicated to their role and each gave a faultless performance. Louis La Plonk (Steve Royle) and his mother Polly La Plonk (Nick Wilton) carried the show along and kept the audience in high spirits throughout. 
The Beast (Danny Walters) gave a stunning performance, showing the depth of his dark character being both sensitive and fiery. Belle (Amelia Adams-Pearce) gave the audience an awe-inspiring performance, especially with her magnificent rendition of ‘This is Me’ that reconfirmed we were experiencing such a high-quality show. 

The performances & narrative made for easy viewing (we say this in the nicest way) so that the whole family could appreciate all elements. Furthermore, the stage and props were fantastic and really added to the magic of the show.

The highlight of our night had to be the hilarious ‘Baby Shark’ sing-along with Steve Royle – it had the whole audience fully engaged, even the Grandads were jigging along in their seats! Beauty and the Beast was a magically beautiful show, perfect for the whole family. So, if you are still yet to book your Pantomime trip this year, we highly recommend it!

Friday, 14 December 2018

Happy Panto Day!

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Review 3: UK Theatre Network

Does Beauty & The Beast bring five-star Christmas cheer to Blackpool? 

⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️       Oh yes it does!       ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Blackpool Grand plus panto equals a double dose of glitz and entertainment and this year’s show does not disappoint. Featuring a superb cast of local celebrities, stage and soap stars, Beauty & The Beast is clearly an absolute delight for all ages judging by the audience reaction.
All generations of "shark" willingly stand up to play their part in the Baby Shark Dance at the request of Louis La Plonk, aka radio presenter and comedian Steve Royle.
Audience participation is always the best bit and he orchestrates this brilliantly, whether it’s poking fun at the adults with a French accent, or teasing the kids with a Chorley one.

UK Productions’ larger than life characters create an expert blend of fun and drama. 

Nick Wilton is endearing as the Dame, Polly La Plonk; radio presenter Hayley Kay shines as Fairy Bon Bon singing The Great Showman’s This is Me; EastEnders star Danny Walters shows his sensitive side and fantastic vocals as The Beast; and Amelia Adams-Pearce proves her musical theatre prowess with a plucky manner and powerful voice as Belle. Taking full advantage of the strong female role, she fobs off the foppish French Hugo Pompidou (portrayed with ding-dong aplomb by Ben Harlow), takes care of her father Clement (played by the highly likeable Marcus Knibbs), and swoons but keeps her cool as The Beast woos her.

The set and costumes are just gorgeous, from the sparkling purple drapes in the dramatic Beast scenes, to Belle’s famously exquisite yellow ballgown. The talented dancers from the Barbara Jackson Theatre Arts Centre do choreographer Katie Hill’s routines real justice, with ballerinas fluttering daintily beneath towering forest backdrops.

This definitely rates as one of the best pantomimes I’ve seen in a while. 

It strikes a lovely balance of hilarity that's not over the top with tender moments that aren’t too deep. The Beast's transformation into Belle's handsome Prince really does make you go "Ahhh" and the laughs really do make your belly ache.

Beauty & The Beast brings five-star Christmas cheer to Blackpool.

And if you don’t know the Baby Shark dance already, make sure you learn it before you go.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

School shows start today!

Our early school shows start today,
Lines buzzing in my head,
I have woken prematurely
So I’m going back to bed.

Beauty & The Beast, Grand Theatre, Blackpool
Shows today at 10.15 and 1.30

Monday, 10 December 2018

Review 2: Blackpool Gazette

“Could be the best panto Blackpool has seen for years.”

Beauty and the Beast, Blackpool Grand Theatre 

Published: Monday 10 December 2018

The trees and lights seem to go up earlier every year, with only Bonfire Night and Halloween keeping them from popping up in early November. But it’s never really Christmas until panto season gets under way. And if inflatable snowmen sat on muddy lawns surrounded by puddles and blown over wheelie bins don’t quite fill you with festive spirit, Beauty and the Beast at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre certainly will. 

Running until January 6, this telling of the iconic fairy tale stars Eastenders actor Danny Walters as the Beast, resort favourite Steve Royle as Louis La Plonk, and stage star Amelia Adams-Pearce. Joining them is a talented cast of Gazette columnist Hayley Kay as Fairy Bon Bon, Nick Wilton as Polly La Plonk, Ben Harlow as Hugo Pompidou, and acting veteran Marcus Knibbs as Clement. 

Set in France, the three-hour show is filled with pop culture references; adaptations of modern songs, including ear-worm Baby Shark; and quips aplenty. A few jokes were missed by some, or felt a little inappropriate in 2018, like “My best friend is a fairy... well I’m a modern type of guy,” but most were both topical and funny - including jabs at the Brexit mess and the resort’s ongoing traffic woes. 

While the ever-dazzling brilliance of Steve Royle continues to cast a huge shadow, the talent of Danny Walters, who wowed with his incredible singing voice, and the acting ability of Marcus Knibbs, saw them stand out as stars that shone just as brightly to the benefit of the whole production.

Nick Wilton’s Polly was both cheeky and ballsy (sorry, I couldn’t help it), and Hayley Kay retained her usual delightful stage presence. Ben Harlow played his part of the cocky Huge Pompidou well, though he seemed to stop short of being a proper pantomime villain and was a bit-part figure, so much so, in fact, the audience forgot to boo him at points. The band, and supporting cast, including youngsters from the Barbara Jackson Theatre Arts Centre, did themselves proud. They did so in front of resplendent sets and backdrops, and while wearing beautiful - and sometimes zany - costumes. 

Steve Royle did his usual act of pulling youngsters on stage for a quick audience-participation singsong at the end, which meant people left the historic venue chuckling and smiling and that’s surely the point of the whole thing.
This could be the best panto Blackpool has seen for years.

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