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REVIEW | Beauty and the Beast - Sheffield Lyceum

AD | Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review.

Tw/Cw Beauty and the Beast contains, Flashing lights, strobe lighting, loud noises, pyrotechnics, Haze and smoke

Photo Credit: Sam Taylor

Be our guest to the pantomime…

Last Night I saw the Evolution Productions of Beauty and the Beast at the Sheffield Lyceum.

Beauty and the Beast follows the same plot, where the Beast has to find someone and find true love with that someone, and then for the Beast has to say “I love you” before the last petal of the rose falls. The names of characters have been changed slightly and also additional characters in this pantomime version. 

My initial thoughts going into the show was that, how was Beauty and the Beast going to be turned into a pantomime? and what changes would be made to make the classic story a panto? 

Beauty and the Beast runs for 2 hours and 30 minutes including an interval. Like always, my reviews are 100% honest and I will always justify my ratings, thoughts and feelings, always giving constructive feedback and my opinions are my own. 

Photo Credit: Sam Taylor

Written and directed by Paul Hendy, Hendy puts bright smiles on your face through the writing, with there being quite a few jokes that are mainly targeted at the adults, but also jokes that are for the younger ones too. There's jokes about local football teams that get the audience shouting out and booing when they mention a certain football team the audience doesn’t like, to a few jokes about a well known certain politician, plus jokes about other rival pantomimes close to Sheffield. There's a variety of different topical jokes and also classical ones in there too within the script.

Hendy takes the story of Beauty and the Beast and turns into a brilliant panto. Hendy straight away lets you know that this isn’t the Disney version you know, but that it’s Sheffield Lyceum’s very own version. Personally I believe Beauty and the Beast is a story that I would say wouldn’t be an obvious choice for a panto, it is not really your typical pantomime. It doesn’t really have a baddie, as most pantos do, yes you think Gaston or in this case Danton (Played by Blues Duncan James) will be the baddie, but it turns out that the character is probably one of the audience's most loved character. That’s why to me Beauty and the Beast is somewhat a different kind of panto, but after seeing the show you can see why it fits the panto genre.

Hendy takes each character and makes them all funny, loveable and a delight to watch. Hendy brings comedy brilliance with a nice balance, especially when he takes on the message of true love and true self really well, and keeps revisiting this through characters such as Belle (Played By Bessy Ewa ) and Cupid (Played By Jennie Dale ),  but not too much just enough of a short burst to have a sweet message within the festive fun. Hendy’s writing is comedically on point and gets the audience laughing all the way through, with fun and laughter for all, and with plenty of interaction and participation from the audience to get involved, especially the audience volunteer that Dame Bellie Fillop ( played by Damian Williams ), who makes a B-line for in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the show, as the character Madame Bellie Fillop wants to find a Ken (yes there's Barbie content!) 

Photo Credit: Sam Taylor

With Beauty and the Beast having a collection of songs such Confident, You Will Be Found, You Can’t Stop The Beat and I’m Just Ken, which are tweaked, with the lyrics nicely changed to fit the panto itself. 

With also the show being directed by Hendy too, panto isn’t panto without comedy routines, such as the messy scene, and also ventriloquism which are perfectly and funnily played out by Max Fulham ( who plays Phillipe Fillop ) and Williams. Both scenes are amusing to watch with also the “well we have to do it again then” routine,  that everyone that are panto regulars knows and loves. Also a routine of movie puns that is cleverly and skillfully directed by Hendy and performed by the talented bunch that is James, Fulham and Williams, as all three make the audience laugh when a clever pun is represented when a movie comes up. Hendy makes Beauty and the Beast into a panto wonderfully, but also adds classic Beauty and the Beast scenes such as, yellow dress at the table with the Beast, which is very sweet and a nice little scene that still says; yes this is panto but we still have the things that you love about the story. Hendy shows the love between Ewa and the Beast/Prince Henri (played by Aidan Banyard) nicely, and slowly reveals the true feelings between both characters, which is good to see as it helps that message of true love and true self. Hendy’s direction is excellent, clever and a joy to watch. 

Photo Credit: Sam Taylor

Damian Williams takes on the role of Madame Bellie Fillop, Williams’ Dame is chaotic in so many ways, but in a good way. Williams is comedic which he cleverly plays by playing around with the script adding funny little bits of ad lib, which gets you laughing throughout. Williams is a great performer to watch and takes playing Madame Bellie Fillop in his stride, Williams gives everything to the performance and is loved by all throughout. 

Max Fulham plays Phillipe Fillop, Fulham is playful and has lively animated movements which translate and makes Fulham a joy on stage. Fulham's ventriloquism is well versed and is sublime to watch, with Fulham's talent of ventriloquism being witty and comical. Fulham is a delightfully sweet performer who absorbs the Lyceum stage in every moment, with Fulham's characterisation being spot on, Fulham’s performance is great from start to finish.

Bessy Ewa plays Belle, Ewa is loveable and is great as Belle. Ewa pushes the message of true love and true self through pure characterisation, and continues to demonstrate the character development throughout with emotion of love, kindness and determination. Ewa delivers gorgeous vocals, and fills the stage with beautiful stage presence. Ewa is an absolute joy to watch and you see her talent every step of the way. 

Photo Credit: Sam Taylor

With choreography by Sarah Langley, Langley brings spirited choreography that is high energy and is great to watch. The choreography is performed by the wonderful ensemble of the show, who also do a great job of being different characters throughout the show. Langley's choreography is wonderful and helps bring that festive and panto feeling to the audience.  

With a Set Design by Morgan Large, Large's set fits the story really well. It feels very fitting to the show and also compliments Jack Weir's brilliant lighting design, which is full of dark blues to help show the night and the love between Belle and the Beast. 

Beauty and the Beast at the Sheffield Lyceum puts smiles on everybody's face. I was unsure on what to expect but I did enjoy it. Beauty and the Beast brings you the festive feeling of fun, joy and laughter, and is all performed by an incredible cast. Sheffield Lyceum's legendary pantomime is full of silliness, happiness and nothing but panto festive fun for the family. 


Beauty and the Beast plays at the Sheffield Lyceum Theatre until 7 Jan 2024

Photo Credit: Sam Taylor

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