‘On the 12th Day of December…’ Beauty and the Beast (Pantomine), Orchard West Theatre,

Last night it was such a delight to return to dartford to the new temporary Orchard West, and can I say i commend the team at orchard theatre to take action to ensure that the Pantomine this year will go ahead, with a great set up of a bar, lovely toilets and a spacious auditorium it was hard to be disappointed and great to see the atmosphere was buzzing with families and kids excited to see what was in store. 

This years panto was new to me ‘Beauty and the Beast’ I have not been lucky to ever see this story transform into a pantomime, only really knowing the classic Disney rendition. But With the comic moments of a ‘truth box’ ‘mastermind’ question round and ‘if I wasn’t in panto…’ song for the children to enjoy along with the adults, throw in some audience participation, magic tricks, acrobatics and hip hop ghosts you have your self the perfect pantomime for a great night out and to get into the festive spirit. 

Leading the cast was Eastenders Shona McGarty as Belle, I think it’s every girls dream to play this role and you can Shona was no different as she shined brightly in the classic yellow gown! It was great to see her live and her voice is absolutely stunning and effortless, which was clearly displayed in rendition of ‘listen’ you could see who her heart belonged to on the night as she grew to know the Beast played excellently by Connor Carson his voice also strong and complimented Shona’s wonderfully while they sang ‘ thinking out loud. But it was clear that Flash Harry although determined he was, he was not going to win her other which part of me pondered because all though his character was ugly on the inside Tom Senior as defiantly not hard on the eyes and throw in a great warm voice and great acting. 

Picking up the comedy of the night was John Archer as father Maurice and Eastenders Harry Reid as Silly Billy, the duo were both brilliant keeping the audience engaged and involved but most of all laughing from the moment they stepped on the stage. Johns magic tricks wowed the audience and even I was blown away at what he did and ‘How did he do that?’ Harry was a natural and you could tell he was thoroughly enjoying himself and received as deserved the most chuckles of the night. The pair jumped off each other superbly and you looked forward to having them returned on stage.

No matter what, it is hard for a Pantomime to not put you in a good mood, always full of surprises that just make you want to come back and discover something new. Without a doubt is a great night out for all ages and families will enjoy a festive night out. The Orchard have made a great temporary for all to enjoy and to keep the arts remaining in Dartford, I highly recommend going to check it out. Playing until December 31st, for all ticket information head here.

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