Elite Dance Company’s “Beauty and the Beast; A Family Pantomime” took place from Friday 24th March to Saturday 25th March at the Glassbox Theatre in Gillingham, Kent. In total, they produced an incredible three shows which conveyed the original story of the much-loved Disney tale, whilst adding originality and a pantomime aura.

The production consisted of a young village girl who falls in love with her beastly captor, battling persistent love interests and making friends with talking objects. The story was expressed vividly but strayed from the original narrative at the end to deliver an inventive and meaningful plot twist.

The performers themselves ranged from ages 3 to 46. Singing, dancing and acting was executed well and happy smiles were maintained throughout, creating a cheerful atmosphere. The projection of voices was limited at times, however I think this was due to some technical difficulties they faced with the microphones and speakers. Overall, these triple-threat actors had great ability in the performing arts and really conveyed the essence of their characters.

Costumes were well-chosen for a realistic and comedic effect. The director and producer, Ryan Cottee, used the lighting really creatively and effectively in some scenes of the play, however, I believe this could have been developed in other parts of the play for greater effect. Also, the stage looked a bit dim at times and may have benefited from a bit of extra light.

Not only was it extremely enjoyable for the audience, the whole cast and crew had an amazing time working on it. Poppy Webb, who played Belle in the play, said, “I loved the whole thing but one of the best things were all the people there and how fun and enjoyable it was with others and meeting new people.” It was really lovely how you could see how close all of the actors were on stage and how much fun they were having together. Everyone seemed to be in their element where they could really thrive and excel. This was my favourite aspect of the show.

In my opinion, I would rate this production a 4 out of 5. This is because of the high comedy value the show possessed and the talent that was present on stage. Despite the minor flaws, this production was a really enjoyable and immersive experience that I would definitely recommend to families.