Beauty and the Beast Review - Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne

For several years now the Devonshire Park Theatre has offered up one of the best pantomimes in the region. They stick to a tried and tested formula, some familiar faces in the cast, great song and dance numbers and they always have a strong script – and this year is the same.

The script is superbly delivered by an extremely talented cast led by actress Carli Norris as the evil but loveable Malevolent. As the “baddie” of the pantomime, she delivers her rhyming lines with just the right amount of venom, to counteract the fact that she looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth!

More rhyming couplets, but happier ones, delivered in a French accent, come from Fairy Formidable, Rebecca Vere who keeps the story-line moving along with wit and humour.

Lewes Roberts, who is a former student at a local Eastbourne college, plays both Prince Gallant and The Beast. He starts the show in a regency attire, with powdered face, rosy cheeks and a huge blond wig, then is cursed to become The Beast....and a very convincing Beast he is too!

Beauty, our heroine, is played by Katie Cochrane and her father, Jeans Jacques, by Brendan Hooper. Both have strong singing voices, and are extremely likeable in their roles.

The undoubted stars of Beauty and the Beast are Martyn Knight and Tucker as Dame Dorothea Derriere and Potty Pierre. Although not officially a comedy double act, these two tremendously talented individuals work so well together that they might as well be!

From the moment that they arrive on stage, and each gives us their opening routine, it’s possible to feel the audience relax – like you do when you meet up with an old friend that you haven’t seen for a while and suddenly realise that, actually, they haven’t changed a bit.

They dominate the stage from start to finish whether they are smashing plates, performing a Mamma Mia medley or just doing their very best to create havoc and mayhem for the other cast members, they do it with style, with skill, and they continue to make the Eastbourne pantomime the benchmark for other pantomimes to aim at.

The show runs until Sunday 14th January 2024 at The Devonshire Park Theatre. Tickets are available online at www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk or by calling 01323 412000

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