Beauty and the Beast | De Montfort Hall, Leicester





Beauty and the Beast
De Montfort Hall, Leicester ★★★

There was a lot to expect from the De Montfort Hall this Christmas when their pantomime season returned. Having successfully broken their box office records last year, there was plenty to see in their production of Beauty and the Beast. The same people who produced this pantomime also produced Cinderella at Belgrade Theatre, giving me something to compare it to.  

Now the obvious difference was the casting in De Montfort Hall's production, they had pulled out all the stops to intertwine some famous faces in the principal cast. 2013 X-Factor winner Sam Bailey returns to the De Montfort Hall for the second year running in their pantomime production. Children's television star Richard McCourt, otherwise known as Dick from the iconic duo Dick and Dom, singer and theatre actor David Lonsdale, BBC Radio Leicester's Martin Ballard and former The Voice contestant Karl Loxley

Beauty and the Beast is an iconic fairytale, loved by many, particularly children but the plot for this pantomime felt disjointed. There's the obvious task of condensing the story into a timeframe suitable for the stage but for me, there was a real lack of structure. Thrown into the mix is popular, modern music including She's So Lovely and Wicked's For Good. If it wasn't for the slick, well-constructed choreography then I honestly think I would have lost all interest. 

Richard McCourt was a great source of entertainment, particularly for the kids. There were shouts of 'Boogies' from the younger members (and older audience members too!). 



BBC Radio Leicester's Martin Ballard is a familiar face for the De Montfort Hall, having donned the dame frock for the seventh pantomime season at the venue. What he has in experience, personally does not reflect on his performance. I often felt as though his jokes were falling into silence and he didn't work the audience particularly well. I have definitely seen better dames in the local pantomime circuit and didn't enjoy Martin's performance, others may disagree though.

Equally, there are some great elements to the production, Sam Bailey's authentic and powerhouse vocal range completely captures the audience. Her vocals really emphasize parts of the production, particularly the ball scene where we witness Beauty and the Beast waltz around the stage. Beauty and the Beast as characters are equally as good, with great vocals and a great connection between two from very different backgrounds that come together. 

The stage design and the choegraphy really help to bring the pantomime together, giving it all the sparkle it neeeds. 

The big downside to the De Montfort Hall pantomime was the allowance of mobile phones to be used during the pantomime. Call me a traditionalist but the Theatre is a place of escape to enjoy a live production, not to watch audience members in my eye view as they battle to capture the 'perfect shot' or film the entire scene. I was often distracted by the flash from mobile phones too. I would definitely encourage that future productions didn't allow this addition. 

I will be intrigued to see future productions of pantomimes at De Montfort Hall and will not be distracted by this first visit. 

Beauty and the Beast is performing at De Montfort Hall until 07 January 2018. The venue has also recently announced their 2018 pantomime production will be Peter Pan.

*Gifted ticket in return for an honest review.
Photo Credit: Pamela Raith. 


5 comments

  1. I agree, phones should be OFF! Totally distracting and really annoying x

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    1. I'm glad you agree - it was so distracting so hopefully they'll take on this feedback for their pantomime this year! x

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  2. Wish if it will stay a bit longer. Will be traveling to UK on last week of Jan and would very much like to see yet.

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  3. Myself and my family went last night and it was absolutely fantastic and some of the causes that attended were amazing too . What a great performance through and through . Sadly mobiles are the way of life now and it's how people get by on a daily bases and capture memories surrounding them . I'm so use to seeing this around us that it didn't bother me at all while watching the show . We will be back next year to watch Peter Pan 👍

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    1. I think it depends on whether you attend the theatre regularly or not, I'm a traditionalist and believe that we should be embracing what's in front of us instead of being focused on getting the photos/videos for keepsakes! I'd like to see what they do with Peter Pan though :) hopefully no phones! x

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