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Beauty and The Beast

Beauty and The Beast

Beauty and The Beast

Dec 8 - 31

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‘BEST PANTO EVER IN STAFFORD!’

Come and join us for the enchanting family pantomime Beauty and the Beast this Christmas.

With record-breaking sales, audiences are calling it ‘absolutely hilarious’, ‘spectacular’ and ‘the best panto ever in Stafford!’.

When an arrogant prince is cursed to live as a beast his only hope of salvation is to find love before the last petal falls from the magical rose.

When village girl Beauty comes into his life, is this the chance he has been waiting for?

Starring CBBC and Pop Idol legend MARK RHODES, Lord of the Dance soloist CELYN CARTWRIGHT, The Sooty Show’s WINK TAYLOR, renowned Dame DAVID PHIPPS-DAVIS, children’s TV favourite WENDY ABRAHAMS and – wait for it! – THEO THE MOUSE, this is the pantomime that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter this Christmas.

The great jokes, the bad jokes, the EVEN WORSE jokes, the puns, the costumes, the singing, the dancing, the all-round laugh-fest that will leave you with a warm glow and a smile as wide as Eastgate Street.

Don’t miss this superb Christmas pantomime – book now for the best seats!

 


PLEASE NOTE:  There is a BSL performance on Wednesday 20th December at 7pm – the best seats available to view the signer are bookable via the Box Office.

SCHOOL PERFORMANCES

Wednesday 20th December – 10:00am

Thursday 21st December – 10:00am

These are bookable via the Box Office on 01785 619080 (09:30 – 17:00 Monday – Saturday)

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Stafford Gatehouse Theatre and Imagine Theatre are delighted to announce that the cast of this year’s magical family pantomime Beauty and the Beast will be led by CBBC favourite Mark Rhodes. Double BAFTA award-winning presenter Mark first appeared on our screens as a finalist in 2003’s Pop Idol. After teaming up with fellow contestant Sam Nixon, they went on to have a number one single before cementing themselves as the faces of CBBC for more than 19 years.

Mark is perhaps best known for presenting the return of the iconic Crackerjack (CBBC), eight series of Sam & Mark’s Big Friday Wind-Up (CBBC), as well as the much-loved Saturday morning show TMI  (CBBC).Over the years, Mark has presented hundreds of hours of TV, including Junior Bake Off, Match of the Day: Can You Kick It?, Copycats, Taking the Next Step, Sport Relief Does Glee Club and Top of the Pops Reloaded to name just a few. He can currently be seen hosting the hugely popular Masked Singer Live at venues up and down the country.

Mark said: ‘This will be my eighth panto, but my first in Stafford which I’m especially looking forward to, being a local lad who grew up nearby in Wolverhampton. It’s my favourite time of the year and I can’t wait to see you all there for lots of fun and laughs this Christmas.’
Joining Mark on stage will be a Dame with over two decades of experience as David Phipps-Davis takes the role of Madeline Marzipan. And Stafford’s panto fans will be delighted to see the return of the hilarious Wink Taylor and Wendy Abrahams, as well as Theo the Mouse, who brought the house down in Snow White in 2021.

Gatehouse Theatre Manager Gary Stevens said: ‘We are over the moon with this incredible cast for Beauty and the Beast. Mark is a CBBC legend and a real national treasure, while David is one the best Dames in all the kingdom.
‘To have Wink and Wendy back is the icing on the cake, especially as it means the return of Theo The Mouse, who is absolutely hilarious in everything he does. We can’t wait for opening night and to give the people of Stafford and beyond the greatest pantomime they’ve ever seen.’

So what’s the plot of this fantastic family show? Well, when an arrogant Prince is cursed to live as a beast his only hope of salvation is to find love before the last petal falls from a magic rose. When pretty village girl Beauty comes into his life, is this the chance he has been waiting for?

Join us at the Gatehouse this Christmas to find out!

Beauty and the Beast
Stafford Gatehouse, (Runs to Dec 31)
Whatever the recipe is for a perfect panto, this thing of beauty has got it in the bag.
From the very start, it seems like the magical Enchantress (Wendy Abrahams) has cast a spell over the audience to clap, cheer and laugh themselves silly at the madness and mayhem of the next two hours.
Her loveable sidekick, Theo The Mouse is his usual naughty self, leaving the children in stitches and keeping the adults in on the joke with some brilliant one-liners.
In a normal year, Theo would steal the show, but this Gatehouse pantomime has such a strong cast throughout that it’s hard to pick a favourite.
Headliner Mark Rhodes is brilliantly cast; his loveable real-life personality shining through as French Frank and effortlessly harvesting laughs galore – young and old alike absolutely adore him, the perfect panto leading man. Ooh, lah, lah Frank!
Then there’s Belle herself, where Celyn Cartwright brings not just beauty, but an amazing singing voice and a smile as wide as Doxey Marshes. She oozes stage presence whenever she appears and forges an immediate rapport with the audience from the start.
Matched up with her is another big-hitter – Jonathan Alden as The Beast, who also has a powerful singing voice and brings gravitas to the narrative as the lovelorn Prince whose life depends on finding true love.
However, without doubt the greatest singing comes from an unexpected source; David Phipps-Davis (Dame Madeline Marzipan) will leave you stunned with his operatic power. But then, he has trained as a classical singer!
His hand-made outfits alone are a sight to behold and are a cut above even the high standard the Gatehouse has set in recent years. Waspish and witty throughout, the Dame gorges on a smorgasbord of great gags penned by panto scriptwriting legend Eric Potts.
All the above are superbly supported by Neil Moors as baddie Benedict Bourbon (‘He takes the biscuit!’) and the irrepressible Wink Taylor as madcap inventor Professor Potage (‘He’s always in the soup!’).
Yes, there are classic panto jokes galore, an unforgettable slosh scene, 12 hilarious Days of Christmas, ensemble dancing from some great local talent – and watch out for the water pistols!
Director Richard Cheshire paces the whole thing with an expert eye and the live band just adds to the sense of occasion in one of the most hilarious highly-polished pantomimes you’ll ever see.
Overall, Beauty and The Beast offers something for everyone and it’s little wonder people are calling it ‘the best panto ever seen in Stafford’.
By the happy ending, the sparks flew, the audience were on their feet and the cheers rang out with a feelgood factor that burst out into Eastgate Street and beyond.
I don’t know about you, but I wish it could be panto every day.
Oh yes I do.
David Banner
More reviews:
‘Fantastic – we had a blast!’ – www.yeahlifestyle.com
‘A feast of family fun’ – TheatreTwittic
‘A must-see feel-good panto’ – Stafford FM
‘A thing of beauty’ – William Stafford 

And don’t forget our brilliant ensemble!

Performances:

11am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 5:30pm, 7pm

PRICES:

£19.50, £21.50, £23, £24, £26, £27.50, £21.50, £23.50, £25, £26, £28, £29.50

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre

  • Best panto ever!

  • We cried with laughter

  • Such a great laugh!

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