YES, its that time of year again, when otherwise macho men cant wait to slip into a frock and high heels to mince about in public.

No self-respecting pantomime is complete without a Dame and this years offering from Erith Playhouse is a corker.

Lucy Lastic (groan!) otherwise known as Tony Bate (pictured left) is always out to make a quick buck, but will any of her get-rich-quick schemes work, or will she be forced to get a proper job with the shows sponsor, Morrisons Supermarket?

Lucy is one of the stars of this years seasonal offering from the Playhouse, Beauty and the Beast.

The show runs from January 6 to 20 and was written by David Maun. It has all the familiar ingredients of marvellous music, mystical magic, mirth and mayhem within a mythical love story.

Based on the traditional Beauty and the Beast tale, the scene is set by Evil Sprite Belladonna, who wants to marry Prince Ferdinand. Appalled by her appearance, the prince refuses and the sprite turns him into a beast. The spell can only be broken if a girl falls in love with the beast as he is.

A whole host of other characters helps create a true pantomime atmosphere. Beautys two spiteful sisters, for instance, are so desperate to marry they pounce on any man that arrives in town.

Beauty and the Beast is essentially a love story. Add to this a battle between good and evil involving the audience, and the antics of Beautys sisters, and the stage is set for an evening of fun.

The cast of 21 is led by Jenny Tallowin as Beauty and Matt Hawes as the Beast.

Performances are on Tuesday to Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm, 5pm and 8pm and Sunday at 3pm.

Some tickets, priced £5.50, are still available from the box office on 01322 350345.

To find out more, visit the Playhouse website at