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Pantomimes

Beauty and the Beast

Aylesbury Waterside
7.00pm, 10 December, 2019

Beauty and the Beast at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Swapping the cobbles of EastEnders to tread the boards of Aylesbury Waterside Theatre this Christmas is London-born actor Danny Walters currently playing Keanu Taylor in BBC’s longest-running soap opera Danny will be starring as the Beast alongside Panto dreamteam Andy Collins (BBC Three Counties Breakfast Show) and La Voix (Britain’s Got Talent) who are returning once more due to popular demand Andy will play cheeky chap Louis Pot et Pan with La Voix donning her finest frocks to play larger-than-life Polly Pot et Pan

Keanu from Enders can sing. Properly sing. That was an even bigger revelation than when Danny Walters Beast character cleverly turned back into a handsome prince because that bit was at least expected! I was so surprised that I began to wonder if he would just be doing the prince bit and somebody else was the Beast. A silly thought I know, because he is, after all an actor! An actor with an absolutely beautiful singing voice. Plus, he’s properly posh.

The only indication of his Cockney alter-ego was a traditional doof, doof at one point – the sound which normally accompanies an Albert Square cliffhanger.

Beauty and the Beast is a spectacular production and is laugh out loud funny, but what makes it even more enjoyable is that amongst the ever-slickly performed panto elements, there is also a strong and dramatic story.

Of course, favourite Aylesbury double act La Voix and Andy Collins as mum and son, Polly and Louis Pot et Pan, do the comedy and do it brilliantly. The jokes flow freely and the chemistry is palpable.

As well as great comic timing, La Voix, as her name suggests, also has the wonderful voice and glides onto the stage in a seemingly never-ending array of glamorous costumes.

Andy Collins is, as always, hilarious, and this year’s 12 Days of Christmas is probably the best yet! The water pistol fuelled fight was wetter than ever and there was added excitment due to a cameo “appearance” from 80s pop legend Tony Hadley.

Before he had even appeared on the stage, I spent much of the interval trying to explain to my nine-year-old exactly who he was as he mingled with the audience. This mainly involved me effortlessly running through a number of Spandau Ballet hits, most of which I have on vinyl, culminating in my enthusiastic rendition of Gold. “But I don’t know who he is, mummy” she said, becoming ever more exasperated.

But in the second half he, or at least his voice, is part of the audience’s favourite routine randomly and bizarrely dressed as a squid. So she now knows him not as the lead singer of an iconic band, but as a comedy cephalopod.

Back to the “real characters”, Amelia Adams-Pearce was charming Belle with yet another impressive singing voice and David Alcock as her father Clement was warm and dignified.

Michael Quinn as Hugo Pompidou, who unsuccessfully tries to woo Belle, added comedy to the villain’s role bringing plenty of good-natured boos!

With an exciting set, great musical numbers, a skilled ensemble, fabulous costumes and lots of glitz and sparkle, this year’s Aylesbury panto is another top night out that sent us out into that evening’s wind and rain with a warm glow.

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