Monday, 6 April 2015

Beauty and the Beast Panto at Epstein Theatre

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When I was younger it was a Christmas tradition of ours to go to the pantomime. We would make a whole day of it by going to see Father Christmas, out for our tea and then an evening at the Pantomime. When I heard about the Epstein Theatre hosting an Easter pantomime I thought it was a little weird because I have always associated panto's with winter and Christmas time. However since I have been an adult and a mummy I have only ever been the panto once, a few years ago. I had forgotten just how good they are. I love everything about pantomimes, the 'he's behind you' and 'oh no he isn't..." Its a great family day out so even though its springtime and not a christmas tree or fairy light in sight we headed into Liverpool to enjoy the show. 

Although I have been up and down Hanover Street many times I have never noticed the Epstein Theatre. I actually googled it before we went and read it has been open since 1913. There is just a doorway on the corner of the street and once you go up the spiral staircase you are greeted by a truly authentic theatre and auditorium. It really is a hidden beauty. 
Beauty and the Beast was the Easter pantomime and I recognised the names of a few of the cast. Alison Crawford as Belle and Ritchie Neville as Anton ( Gaston from the Disney version of the movie). As the stage was so small I was unsure how the this would work as there was a large ensemble of children and young adults as well as the seven main cast.

Our seats were centre to the stage and we had a great view. After looking round it was obvious that all seats had a great view and the theatre is very intimate and cosy. 
Unfortunately Daddy and little J were unable to attend so it was just big J and I. We thoroughly enjoyed it. The casting was perfect. Belle (Alison) has a lovely voice and I remembered her from the TV programme Grease is the word. Ritchie (Anton) is from the newly reunited 5ive. I am still a huge fan of 5ive and have seen them live twice over the last few years after their 'Big Reunion' I think he played the part perfectly and had me laughing every time he came on stage. He didn't even need to speak just his walk and mannerisms had me giggling. He was looking very fit too!!
As expected there was a bad guy ( or in this panto it was a girl) Countess Champagne and a panto dame, Miss Dolly Doughnut. The countess has an amazing voice and one of the highlights for me was her performing 'A spell on you.' Another highlight was Miss Dolly Doughnut, very very funny and I loved the innuendos and adult humour. Big J is old enough to understand a few and I found him laughing to himself.
The story pretty much followed that of the Disney film although it was the Countess who had cursed Prince Pierre to look like a beast as he would not marry her. She was the perfect panto villain with an amazing voice. Anton spent the entire performance trying to woo Belle although as we all know she falls in love with the beast. Dolly Doughnut was the Beasts cook and had me laughing throughout. 
Loopy Louis was one for the kids. He was the village idiot and was in love with Belle. He threw sweets into the audience and every time he arrived on stage the kids had to shout 'Bonjour Louis'.
The second half saw the story come to a halt as the cast sang a 'If I was not in pantomime...then I would rather be' song. This saw Anton and Dolly Doughnut use water pistols to squirt the audience. We actually got soaked as we were in the firing line although big J thought this was hilarious. 
There were a few technical hitches especially regarding the microphones but they were rectified quickly and I'm sure these little hiccups will be sorted out for future performances. 
Afterwards we had a very brief meet and great with the cast. I was really looking forward to having a photo with Ritchie although they were called away quite quickly but I assume they were tired and needed a rest before the next performance later on.
Overall we had a really good time and although I thought a Easter panto was slightly weird it was thoroughly enjoyable.


*we were invited to watch sleeping beauty in return for a honest review. All thoughts and opinions above are our own*
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17 comments

  1. The Epstein is amazing isn't it! I passed it so many times when I worked in Primark. Their productions are meant to be really good at Christmas and a lot cheaper than going the Empire xx

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  2. We were just watching this last night! Everyone's fave in our household. Sounds like a fun experience. We havent seen any panto with my son yet but looking forward to seeing one someday! #magicmoments

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    1. I love the panto, its a great family day/night out

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  3. Wow, I've never heard of an Easter pantomime before either. Glad you enjoyed!
    Laura | A Life With Frills 

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    1. No I hadn't heard of it either. was fun though

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  4. I love a good panto, but you're right not sure how I'd feel about going in easter, something different though.

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  5. We're a big fan of Ritchie Neville. He does some writing on our blog from time to time. :) Great post and pleased you had a good time: Easter Panto's are the new thing! Soon we'll have Summer pant's and back to school pantos! Just one big pant fest!

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  6. We love Ritchie Neville! He writes on our blog from time to time as a guest dad. :) Glad you had a good time. Panto is always good fun but Easter is the new thing! Soon will have summer Panto's and back to school panto's! One big panto fest!

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  7. Hard to beat a family pano trip! #MagicMoments

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  8. We saw this as well #KidTested

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  9. I would LOVE to go to see this panto, I adore Beauty and The Beast. I can't wait until the film comes out xxx

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  10. This looks fab, although I think I'm too little and wriggly to sit through a panto. Beauty and the Beast has always been my biggest sisters favourite #KidTested

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  11. Haven't been to a panto in ages! really need to go soon with my family :)

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  12. This sounds like a really fab outing! i love a good panto
    Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments (sorry i am late)

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  13. Sounds like a great excursion for the kids as well as the adults. I just love old theatres and know all the songs to Beauty and the Beast! I might have to borrow a few kids and see if it's playing near me somewhere! Visiting from #weekendBlogHop

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Thanks for your comments. I love reading them :)

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