This year the Blackmore Players presented Beauty and the Beast – A tale as old as time. It was nice to see some familiar faces from the last year and a few new ones too.
I thought it was both brave and inspired to have a live retro rock band on stage as the accompaniment. The band were very good although the sound levels were not always spot on, but it was great to see them throughout the show and they added a different element to the show completely. The set as always, at Blackmore was great with some excellent props to embellish it, ideally some slightly quicker scene changes would have helped keep the action moving but all in all, it gave a good backdrop to the action.
This year at Blackmore I think I fell for the Dark Side. There were some admirable performances from the ‘Goodies of the piece” Kira Beavis as Belle was charming and well-cast as the gentle and beautiful lead, ably accompanied by her greedy and needy sisters Charity played by Linda Raymond and Prudence played by Linda Cearns. Ryan Stevens as the Merchant gave a steady performance and Keith Goody as Mrs Bustle was in high form as the Dame, but it was the Shows “Baddies’ who made my night.
Matthew Pearson as the Beast was suitably fearsome and great credit to him for keeping his characterisation particularly whilst singing “I Want to Break Free”. Hilary Martin as the Witch gave a great performance, her diction was impeccable, and she really embodied the role of a posh but evil witch.
However, it was Igor and Igor who stole the show – Steve Drinkall as Igor the ex-servant of Frank-N-Stein and Simon Haskell as Igor the ex-servant of Dracula. Both gentlemen kept their characters throughout and gave us lots of laughs and entertainment.
On a general note the dialogue was quite often lacking pace and had slow pickups which means pantomime gags could lack punch and delivery but generally the diction was good.
The company although small certainly appeared to have a great time on stage however, one company member in particular regularly caught my eye with her strong stage presence and good reactions. I was brought up being told that “the art of acting is in re-acting” and Sarah, as I believe her name is, was certainly embodying that.
Congratulations to the production team on this year’s pantomime and I hope the remaining performances are just as enjoyable.