Beauty and the Beast at St Helens Theatre Royal has arrived. Like most things this year live shows came to a sudden halt due to the global pandemic but through sheer determination, hard work and the luck of the tier scoring system St Helens Theatre Royal and Regal Entertainments LTD have managed to open their doors to the public once again and I for one am overjoyed.
I can not express just how magical it was to sit with my family in our favourite theatre watching a live performance last night. If this year has taught us anything it is not to take these things for granted and to absolutely make the most of them whilst they are still available, as who knows what is round the corner.
Now usually people read my reviews to see if it is worth the money, to compare it to other shows they may be wanting to see or for some top tips on how to get the most out of their visit. All things I will cover but this time I think the question on most peoples lips is …
Is Beauty and the Beast at St. Helens Theatre Royal Covid safe?
Let’s be honest, this is important. No one wants to part with their hard earned cash to go somewhere and feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or end up leaving before it’s finished.
So the short answer is yes. The show was Covid safe and I felt perfectly okay with my family during our whole visit and here is why
When you arrive you queue outside until the foyer is empty/quiet.
You have your hands sprayed with sanitizer on the way in
There is a one way system in place that is clearly marked
You have no one sitting directly in front or behind you and there is at least a 4 chair gap between you and the family at the other end of the row
You can order drinks and snacks using an app from your chair and they will be delivered to you
All staff are wearing masks
The ladies toilettes are now downstairs with more cubicles available than before so less or no queue
All customers over the age of 11 are asked to wear masks during the show
There are lots of hand sanitizer stations throughout the
Now back to the show..
Beauty and the Beast is a classic, known by all and loved by many. This version is slightly different and totally in keeping with the times in a way that only St Helens can do. It has been expertly written by Liam Mellor and directed by Chantelle Nolan with some brilliant Covid references, jokes and even changes to song lyrics which will have you laughing out loud the whole show through. One of which is the promotion of French Frank (Scott Gallagher) from right hand man for the prince to the Covid safety officer.
If you have been to a St Helens theatre Royal pantomime previously then you may very well recognise Gaston who is played by the brilliant Tim Lucas. He is by far the funniest Gaston we have ever seen, completely self centred and totally obnoxious and down right hilarious. He is so awful that you can’t help but feel sorry for Belle, played by the gorgeous Olivia Sloyan, as he pesters her relentlessly. However, fear not, as in true panto style Belle does find her self falling in love with the beast, who of course then turns back into the prince. Once again the beady eyed amongst you may well recognise this face too as it is of course Andrew Geater who is everything you would want the prince to be.
Alongside the brilliant main characters there are also a couple of faces that don’t appear in the Disney version but certainly make their presence know in this one. There is Potty Polly (Jamie Greer), Madame Botox (Abigail Middleton) and Fairy Rose (Jenna Sian O’Hara). All three of these characters bring so much laughter and are clearly as happy to be back on the stage as we were to be watching them.
Of course no review would be complete without giving a special mention to the choreographer Nazene Langfield and the dancers who are a joy to watch and despite wearing masks didn’t look uncomfortable or let it interfere with their performance one bit. Unfortunately this year there were no mini dancers due to the Covid restrictions which is a shame as they always bring that little bit of cuteness overload but hopefully they will be back on stage in 2021.
So, if you are looking for some Festive fun then I highly recommend Beauty and the Beast at St Helens Theatre Royal. It is both an amazing production and a Covid safe activity. You can purchase tickets online from £16 and the performances will (all being well) run until Sunday 3rd Jan 2021, so don’t delay book today!
(We were gifted tickets in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own).