Panto is back - and it is going to be a Beauty

The sun might be shining but the countdown has begun to The Cresset’s 25th annual panto - Beauty and the Beast.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 5:36 am
Beauty and the Beast panto pix at the Cresset EMN-210609-145727009
Beauty and the Beast panto pix at the Cresset EMN-210609-145727009

The all-star line up was brought together this week though the family panto - glittering sets, spectacular song and dance, plenty of audience participation plus some truly terrible jokes - doesn’t open for another two months.

Headlining this year’s cast is Grant Urquhart as cheeky chap Silly Billy.

Grant is probably best known for his regular appearances as one of the featured waiters on the popular Channel 4 television shows First Dates and First Dates Hotel.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In the role of the Good Fairy is Kim Taylforth, who has an extensive list of television and stage credits including London’s Burning, Bad Girls, Brookside and Family Affairs. Kim has also been starring in pantomime for many years – including her first ever panto season 15 years ago, right here at The Cresset!

Joining them will be the hugely talented Andrew Crawford as one half of the titular duo, The Beast! Andrew starred in Cbeebies’ The Rhyme Rocket alongside his TV counterpart Joseph Chambers from 2012 to 2016, and has since being touring the world with their performance-based interactive learning company Laugh’n’Learn and running The Ridiculous Rhyme Show YouTube channel.

Tony Howes joins the cast this year as the Dame, Nurse Jackie O’ LaLa. Tony’s TV credits include Emmerdale, Doctors, Midsomer Murders and Casualty – but he’s no stranger to the stage, regularly touring his one-man version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Returning to The Cresset stage this Christmas in the role of Beauty herself is Victoria Jane.

Victoria is an actress, band member, children’s presenter, puppeteer, skin artist and voice- over artist probably best known for her role as Noo-Noo the Hoover in The Teletubbies 2015 remake. Cresset audiences may also recognise her as Wendy from Peter Pan (2016) and the titular role in Snow White (2017).

Last but not least is another familiar face on The Cresset stage – Vanessa Boland.

Vanessa has made multiple appearances on both stage and screen – her theatre credits include Guys and Dolls and Be Back Soon, while her TV appearances include The Apprentice and Lee Nelson’s Well Funny People. Vanessa also enchanted audiences last year as Fairy Liquid in Jack and The Beanstalk - bring some more magic to the stage as Carabosse!

Writer and Director Stuart Morrison has been producing and directing Cresset Pantomimes both alone and with Premier Pantomimes since 2008 and is thrilled to be bringing this magical tale back to the stage.

Stuart said “We were so grateful to be able to put on any kind of show in 2020, and while we only managed a week of live performance, we were incredibly proud of Jack & the Socially Distanced Beanstalk. I know though that there were so many people who couldn’t get here last year, and some who’ve had their tickets booked since 2019 so I’m so looking forward to getting back to a full scale live show. I’m putting everything into it – all the stuff people have been missing so expect loads of songs, slapstick and silliness!”

Beauty & The Beast runs at the Cresset Theatre from December 11-30. Tickets from £15.50. Book through the Box Office on 01733 265705 or online at