Review: Beauty & The Beast At Liverpool Everyman

Adam Keast as Wilbur and Francis Tucker as Polly. Photo: Robert Day
I HAVE a confession to make: this was my first time at an Everyman panto. Shocking I know, but pantos don’t really appeal to me and, more pertinently, the boss normally nabs the tickets before I get a look in. But, as she was somewhere above the Atlantic this was my chance to see what all the fuss is about.I didn’t expect your average, run-of-the-mill pantomime – this is the Everyman after all and one thing they don’t do is average. I expected anarchy, laughs, great music and a serious amount of silliness. I got them all and then some.The cast of ten, who are clearly enjoying themselves throughout the show, are all superb. And what a multi-talented bunch they are! All taking turns as the house band, led by the Musical Director Greg Last, they pump out some stonking good tunes.The Everyman’s rock ‘n’ roll panto dispenses with some of the clichés of the genre and replaces them with wonderfully bonkers variations on audience participation. The White Rose of Cairo – genius. It makes you wonder what writers Sarah A Nixon and Mark Chatterton have been taking.There’s plenty of childish humour that includes flatulence and laughter at the word ‘bottom’ but the real humour is in the innuendo that hopefully flies well above the heads of the younger members of the audience.It’s impossible to single out any of the cast for particular praise as they’re all brilliant but I will say that Francis Tucker is probably the most original dame I have ever seen.The show is so well-paced that I can honestly say that there’s never a dull moment. One word of warning though, it doesn’t matter where you sit, the chances are that you’re going to get wet.So, I’ve lost my rock ‘n’ roll panto virginity; I was taken up the belfry and loved every magical moment.We don’t normally do stars but this is 5-star entertainment in anyone’s book. I’ll be going again.Beauty & The Beast is at the Everyman until 21 January.Review by Andy Green