A group of pantomime performers brought some early Christmas magic to Horsham’s Capitol on Friday, October 9.
There were colourful costumes, twinkling tiaras and menacing masks on display as actors had their photos taken to promote this year’s festive show, Beauty and The Beast.
The production is at the theatre from December 11, 2015, to January 3, 2016.
This traditional panto mixes pop hits and musical theatre songs to tell the tale of a prince who has been transformed into a beast.
The leading star is Andrew Hayden-Smith, who performs as the handsome Danon. Andrew is best-known for playing Ben Carter in Byker Grove and Jake Simmonds in Doctor Who.
The show also features The Capitol’s first traditional dame in four years with actor Alex Wadham starring as Mademoiselle Renée Tasse de Thé.
Alex, who recently played Giles in The Mousetrap at The Capitol, said he is enthusiastic about spending the festive season at the venue.
“I find it a really welcoming theatre and a really welcoming public,” he told the County Times.
“It’s one of those places that gets theatre and the space to play is so intimate and close, enjoyable and warm, that it feels like home onstage already.”
The show offers lighthearted family entertainment, but Tom Senior, who stars as The Beast, hinted at a level of complexity with his ‘unusual’ role.
“He’s like a teenager who’s still trying to find himself,” said Tom. “He’s quite a frustrated character and it must be quite hard for him.”
However, Tom admitted that one of the biggest challenges for his role will be getting used to his fearsome costume.
“It is going to be something to experiment with in rehearsals,” he said.
Karina Hind, who stars as Beauty, also said that the script has real substance to it.
“It’s witty, it’s emotional. There’s some dramatic scenes, there’s funny scenes. The costumes are going to be great and the sets are going to be incredible.”
Karina added that her fellow performers are great to work with as well. “They’re so lovely,” she said.“That will really come across onstage.”
Audiences can expect some familiar faces too. Star of CBBC’s Trapped Olly Pike, who played Dandini in last year’s Capitol panto Cinderella, is thrilled to return. However, this year it looks like he’ll play a more villainous role as DC.
“I’m going to make him fun whatever,” he said, reassuringly. “I’m like the little sidekick to the baddie but I don’t think I could be really bad. I think I might just be comic relief.”
Mike Goble, who played Buttons in last year’s Cinderella and helped write this year’s show, is also happy to be back.
This time he’s playing D’Jon M’Stard, a character who’s not quite sure where he fits in.
He said: “The great thing about The Capitol’s panto is that because it’s in-house, the love and care that is taken to produce the panto means a lot to every single person that works in the building.”
Mike also likes the choice of show this year. Beauty and the Beast isn’t performed that often but Mike finds the themes appealing.
“It’s really a story about love,” he said. “This really is about the power of love.”
Magic, of course, is also an important part of the tale and will be brought to the stage this winter by Dani Acors, who stars as The Enchantress.
Dani, who recently finished work on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast film (2017), went to watch panto as a child and sees it as an essential element in the festive season.
“If I don’t go to the panto it doesn’t really feel like Christmas is happening,” she said.
But whether panto is part of your Christmas tradition or not, Richard Alan, who plays Professor ‘Doc’ Eclaire, offered a simple reason why families should come along.
“We’re going to give you a good time and we want to see you,” he laughed. “We saw you last year. We want to see you again!”
Click here to watch our video interviews with the cast.
Standard ticket £20.50.
Family of four £70
Groups of 10+ £17
Call 01403 750220 or visit www.thecapitolhorsham.com.
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