Panto season in Peterborough is here... oh yes it is

Beauty and the Beast opens at Peterborough’s Key Theatre tonight... followed closely by The Cresset’s panto offering Cinderella on Saturday.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 9:35 am
The Key Theatre panto Beauty and the Beast opens today, December 5.

Running until January 5, the classic French fairy tale undergoes an hilarious, local twist - with all the action taking place in the provincial town of ‘Pierreborough’, (home of the ‘Macrongate Shopping Centre’) with set, costumes and actors showing off lederhosen, alpenhorns and plenty of yodelling. Against this backdrop of alpine silliness, we meet the quirky, kooky character of Belle (who doesn’t really like dressing like ‘the other girls’) and are swept up in an adventure with her to undo the curse of the wicked Wolf Queen and her Wolf Pack. Along the way, Belle teams up with friends and family to rescue The Beast, (a formerly charming ‘chevalier’) from his terrifying transformation.

Returning cast members include Fran Frenech as the evil Wolf Queen, who in last year’s Peter Pan played the operatic pirate diva Dolores Smee. Rob Hazle, who will be known to Peterborough audiences as John in Peter Pan (2018), Potty the Chamberlain in Sleeping Beauty (2017) and Uncle

Billy in Dick Whittington (2016) returns in the role of Chef Jean-Paul. Key Theatre stalwart Robin Johnson, who played Barnacle Bill in Peter Pan (2018), King Rat in Dick Whittington (2016) and

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The Cresset Panto opens on Saturday. Photos by Chris Brudenell.

Abanazar in Aladdin (2015) this year plays the (much friendlier) role of Belle’s father – Monsieur deDumdeDumdeDum.

In the starring role of Belle, Rebecca Levy will be wowing audiences for the third year running, having previously played the title role in Peter Pan

(2018) and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty (2017). Every panto needs a dame and joining the cast this year is TJ Holmes as Madame Obnobs.

Writer, director and composer Simon Egerton said: “ We aim to provide all the glitz, glamour, fun and “he’s behind yous” that you might expect, but always find room to make things a little different. How have we managed that this year? Well, you’ll have to come and find out!”

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Meanwhile Cinderella runs at The Cresset from December 7 to 30.

Headlining this year’s cast is Ricky Groves as the lovable Buttons. A panto veteran and audience favourite, Ricky is probably best known for his nine years on EastEnders as the

hapless mechanic Garry Hobbs.

He also appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, making it to Week 10 alongside partner Erin Boag. Cresset audiences will also recognise him from previous productions of Dick Whittington (2012) and Beauty and The Beast (2013).

He isn’t the only Cresset panto favourite returning though. In the role of Prince Charming is Mitch Hewer (Aladdin in 2014, Snow White in 2017 and Robin Hood last year).

Lawrence Stubbings - a brilliant baddy - is back, starring as Bella, one of Cinderella’s Ugly Sisters; and in the role of Donna the Ugly Sister is veteran dame, Zach Vanderfelt. Joining them will be the hugely talented Lily Shires as the star of the show, Cinderella herself.

Tickets are available from