Stuart Forster heads to the Beauty and The Beast pantomime in Newcastle, attending the 2022-23 winter panto at Tyne Theatre & Opera House which ran until 8 January 2023.
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Beauty and the Beast ran at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House in Newcastle from 9 December 2022 to 8 January 2023. Laced with songs, dances and jokes – and even a segment of 3D animation – the show is everything you’d expect of a family-friendly panto. The audience is, of course, expected to interact.
Pantomime in Newcastle
Regular performers Tyne Theatre and Opera House pantos, Charlie Richmond and Lewis Denny return for another season in comic roles. Now in his 15th year, Charlie plays the role of Daveed Granola. In his eighth season of panto at the venue, Lewis takes on the role of Dame Brenda Brexit in this show set in France.
The cast includes Amelle Berrabah as Fairy Sugarbabe. A member of the Sugarbabes girl group that has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide, Amelle also had a solo number one in 2009 with Never Leave You.
Former jockey JJ Hamblett, a member of the boyband Union J, takes on the role of the Beast and Prince. His band will be touring the UK in 2023.
Local talent Beth Clarke plays the role of Belle, the principal girl in this version of Beauty and The Beast.
The villain, at least of sorts, is Anton du Berk. Played by Michy Cochrane, the self-loving character struts about the stage reminiscent of footballer Eric Cantona in his prime.
“We’ve got a great cast, it’s great to be home for Christmas and I’m absolutely loving it. It’s great to have the home crowd. It’s there’s just something different about doing a panto to a home crowd and they get our humour,” said Lewis, still in one of his flamboyant costumes after the opening night.
He revealed that the cast started rehearsals on the 26th of November ahead of the opening day on 9 December. “It’s been pretty intense long days, but it’s just been grateful and you know, looking forward to the rest of the month. It’s tiring, but it’s good fun and so rewarding, bringing festive cheer to the North,” commented the actor, who is known for his role as Karen the Mam.
In Beauty and The Beast, he plays one of the great roles of British theatre – the pantomime dame. “I love it, it’s so much fun. There are quick changes. That’s the hardest bit for me, knowing what part of the show is next, what am I saying when I go on, what am I going to be wearing. It’s just a bit chaotic but I love it and it’s a great part to play. People always remember the dame, the comic; it’s great,” he said.
“Absolutely loved it! It was a great crowd and felt like Christmas Eve, to be honest with you. That’s the type of buzz that’s been in there tonight. It was absolutely magical,” said Charlie following the show. “This is the best job in the world, there’s no doubt about it.”
“It’s an absolute pleasure to come back and make people laugh like that tonight. The mams, the dads, the grannies and grandas and the kids are rolling around the floor laughing. There’s no better feeling in the world,” he explained of his role as the pantomime comic.
“I’ve always been typecast as an idiot. So that comes really naturally to me – I love making people laugh. I’ve always loved comedy, stand-up comedy, that type of thing. But then I do love a serious role because I find that more challenging because I’ve then got to think about it. I’ve then got to not then make them laugh in the scene because sometimes it’s really hard not that like try and make somebody laugh,” said the actor, whose recent roles include a Post Office official in the film, The Duke.
Tyne Theatre and Opera House
The panto season means opportunities for theatres across Britain to raise income through ticket sales. If sales are good, that can be key to venues’ survival.
“The theatre will actually make enough money off the pantomime to survive most of the year. But they do rely on donations to make the building watertight as we’ve had loads of leaks on the roof. They’ve actually laid all new carpets and paintwork outside, so it’s really fantastic trying to get an old theatre like this in good working order. So it is very important to get the donations,” explained Charlie.
Donations can be made via the Donate page on the Tyne Theatre and Opera House website.
Beauty and The Beast continued until 8 January 2023. Tickets are available from the Tyne Theatre and Opera House website.
Map of Tyne Theatre and Opera House
The map below shows the location of the Tyne Theatre and Opera House on Westgate Road in Newcastle:
Hotels in Newcastle
Search for accommodation in Newcastle and the surrounding area on Booking.com:
The pantomime is an Enchanted Entertainment production.
Manjaro’s (9-10 Cross Street, NE1 4XE; tel. 0191 261 8764) is well-placed for a pre-show dinner, serving the likes of parmos and chicken skewers. Like the idea of Korean cuisine before visiting the theatre? Mannaza (5-7 Taylors and Tanners Court, NE1 5XD; tel.0191 232 7950) is three minutes’ walk from the Tyne Theatre and Opera House. See places to eat in Newcastle city centre for more pre-show restaurant ideas.
Stuart Forster, the author of this post, is an award-winning travel writer based in North East England. He has written for Love Exploring, The Telegraph and Wanderlust. He was named Travel Writer of the Decade at the 2020 Netherlands Press Awards.
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