Come on, you little Beauty - it’s Kings Langley panto time

Beauty and the Beast'Kings Langley Players. 'Ready for curtain up: the cast includes, back row from left, Dave Barron (Beast), Casey Bird (Beauty), Mike Crow (Ma), Jamie Yates  (Jacques), Rebecca Davey (Malabelle) and Sophie Palumbo (Capucine)

Beauty and the Beast'Kings Langley Players. 'Ready for curtain up: the cast includes, back row from left, Dave Barron (Beast), Casey Bird (Beauty), Mike Crow (Ma), Jamie Yates (Jacques), Rebecca Davey (Malabelle) and Sophie Palumbo (Capucine)

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If you still haven’t had your fill of family-friendly panto fare, there’s a little beauty heading your way next week courtesy of the Kings Langley Players crew.

Beauty And The Beast is their choice for the traditional winter family show, and it’s the first time they have tackled the tale.

Andrew Knight, who is taking on the director’s duties for the third year in a tow, happily admits that he is panto mad.

“I absolutely love it!” he said. “It ticks all the boxes for me – comedy, catchy songs, drama and magic moments.

“And it’s where I started out with the Players – so panto holds a lot of happy memories.”

Andrew’s previous two pantomimes have been huge hits with audiences and he’s confident that Beauty And The Beast will top them both.

“It has all the traditional panto fun and there are some surprises, too,” he said.

“Ben Crocker, who scripted last season’s Sleeping Beauty, has stayed true to the original fairy tale’s truly touching love story and created unusually moving scenes for Beauty and her Beast.

“Then, just as things are getting serious, along comes a giant French poodle to set us all laughing again. Brilliant!”

That giant French poodle is one of the novel ingredients of this panto. He’s Felix, the family pet of Ma, and her two children, Beauty and her brother Jacques.

“Felix is the character all the kids will love – a crazy, cuddly canine, with an eye for the ladies,” says Andrew.

“And Ma is a rather unusual Dame – she has her own take on gender bending by dressing up as a bloke!”

Then there’s the Disney-inspired chorus of furniture: “We have a Chest of Drawers, a Talking Clock, a Rug, a Table, and a Lamp, all of which come to life – this is going to look quite special thanks to our clever set designer’s ingenious designs.”

Andrew believes that his cast is one of the strongest pantomime teams that the Players have ever fielded.

“Thanks to word-of-mouth and some good advertising on our website, exciting new talent turned up for auditions and I am delighted two of them bagged the key roles – David Barron is our endearing Beast and Casey Bird our charming Beauty.

“Right from our first rehearsals they’ve thrown themselves wholeheartedly into their roles – and their love song together will melt your hearts.”

Great music is a significant feature of this production under the sure direction of musical director Clive Swan.

Beauty And The Beast is on stage at the Kings Langley Community Centre from Thursday, January 9 through to Saturday, January 11, with with two matinees as well as an evening performance on Saturday.

You can book online at www.klp.org.uk or by calling 07906 695959