By Gail McKay

As a newcomer to Eastbourne Panto, I was looking forward to this year’s ‘Beauty and the Beast. I’d mentioned that we were going to various friends, and they all said we’d absolutely love it!

Well readers, we did love it and here’s why: it was funny, clever, and visually stunning.

Chris Jordan is the creator of Eastbourne’s famous pantos. They are crafted together so meticulously, to appeal to all ages. There aren’t many things that are fun for all the family, but this is.

The jokes are genuinely funny, Tucker (Potty Pierre) and Martyn Knight (Dame Dotty) have got their performances down to a fine art. They’ve been working together for 10 years, and it’s clear they are incredible as a comedy duo. When Tucker goes off script sometimes, Martyn is there to bring him back on track.

Malevolent, played by Carli Norris, was the perfect villain, she brought, glamour, wit, and incredible voice. You’ll recognise the RADA actor, from Eastenders, Holby City, Doctors and Hollyoaks.

Fairy Formidable, played by Rebecca Vere, was the playful good Fairy, trying to outwit the Evil Malevolent. She provided a cheeky French naughtiness to the show, again, along with beautiful vocal skills.

Everyone deserves a mention, Katie Cochrane was radiant as Beauty in her professional debut. Brendan Hooper (Jean Jaques) gave a warm and funny performance as Beauty’s Dad. Lewes Roberts, was splendid, as he transformed from the ridiculous Prince Gallant, to the mournful Beast, (and back).

We all love live music, so hat’s off to Carl Greenwood and his team for pulling off some remarkable performances. No spoilers here, but the musicians played a big part in keeping the laughs big.

And the Costumes! That is a massive wardrobe!

I’ve not even mentioned how good the songs were, but you’ll need to go and find out for yourselves how Abba, Rag’N’Bone Man, Kylie, Fatboy Slim got on in medieval France.

Beauty and the Beast is on until Sun 14 Jan 2024

Devonshire Park Theatre

8-10 Compton St, Eastbourne BN21 4BW 01323 412000