TALE as old as time is how this pantomime is titled and rightly so. The story of the Prince who was cursed and transformed into a beast only to be saved by love is well known to both children and adults.

This story was brought to life by Victoria Hall ADS.

Ably directed by Ray Darby, this was a small cast of just 14 but the stage was always ‘full’ with good, evil, songs, dances and laughter.

The show opened with Evil Witch Wotsit, stylishly played by Emma Deardon who cast a spell on Prince Cedric and turned him into the Beast. Anthony Johnson shone as the beast. It was a challenge to sing wearing the beast’s mask but he certainly rose to the challenge

To the rescue cane Fairy Wanda played by Margaret Foster, who decreed that the Prince would be saved if someone would fall in love with the Beast and promise to marry him. Margaret was lovey as the fairy. Her personality was as sparkly as her dress.

Back in the village, David Walsh as the Mayor commanded proceedings and was very endearing especially towards his daughter, Beauty.

Beauty was played by Katie Barnes. What a confident and assured performance. She made the story so believable and had a lovely singing voice.

The chorus gave us some lovely dance routines including baton twirling so well done to Choreographer Dawn Hargreaves.

The set was simple but effective and the lighting & Costumes were spot on.

Comedy Duo Biggles and Boggles had the audience roaring with laughter and early on had us all performing a dance routine (that’s my aerobic exercise for 2020 done). Well done Neil Elston and Natalie Quin

Looking through the programme, one name kept cropping up. He wrote it, designed the set, made the props, helped with publicity and still found time to play the Dame Aggy. Congratulations Barry Massey – your efforts certainly paid off.

Ideally located in Bolton Town Centre and a guaranteed warm welcome, Beauty and the Beast runs until Saturday 18th Jan.

For tickets call 01204 845493

Sharon Morris