It’s the most wonderful time of the year again, I was very fortunate to go along and see this year’s pantomime at the Theatre Royal which is Beauty and the Beast this time around.

Taking our seats, we were amongst some very excited children who were full of smiles and sparkles, such a fabulous site to see.

Up went the curtain and we were greeted by Ben Richards playing the selfish Prince Sebastian who is cursed by the wicked Deadly Nightshade (Natalie Spriggs) to be a horrific beast who nobody could possibly love. Locked away in his castle, he becomes reclusive and downright grumpy! Along comes beautiful Belle (Naomi Slights) to stay in the castle with her friends Benny Blumenthal (the hilarious Ben Nickless) and Dame Betty Blumenthal – played by Andrew Ryan, who also directed the show! Sherrie Hewson appeared as Mrs Potts Temple-Savage (a clear homage to her infamous Benidorm character). Mrs Potts Temple-Savage must try and get Belle to fall in love with the Beast before the last petal falls on the enchanted rose. Her efforts often hampered by Deadly Nightshade but also by cheesy ladies man Trent (Danny Bayne) who tries to have Belle for himself and be rid of the Beast for good.

The Theatre Royal panto is a Christmas tradition that never disappoints. Packed full of giggles, cheers and scary bits, this is always a must see and is quickly turning into an annual tradition…if it isn’t already. There are some parts that are a little scary for the small ones, the poor little one next to me had his ears covered for most of the performance and his eyes covered at the 3D section (even I did for a little bit of it I will confess!) but the laughter more than makes up for the scarier stuff.

As always, the comedy roles were my favourite, including the Dame and Benny…I was howling with laughter,  I was squirted with water, I was showered with sparkles and I was made jumpy in parts, but I loved it.

On until the 14th January at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham – get yourself some Christmas magic. Roll on next year now please!

Also look out for The Ben Nickless (plays Benny Blumenthal in the pantomime) Variety Show coming to the Theatre Royal in September 2018. Ben is an amazing comedian and I hope to see him in more and more in the future.