Beauty and The Beast, Ferneham Hall, Fareham

2:15pm Wednesday 14th December 2011

By Emma Allen

AN UNLIKELY double act were the stars of the show at Ferneham Hall’s annual panto offering this year.

Who would have thought that Ian ‘H’ Watkins, best known as member of super group Steps, would gel so well with a 6ft-plus dame expertly played by Chris Casserly.

‘H’ played an energetic Pottie Pierre, and his partner in crime was his overthe- top mother Dame Dotty Derriere. The pair’s comedy timing was brilliant and a plate ‘smashing’ scene was slapstick at its best. There must be a supplier in Fareham doing very nicely out of providing plates every night for the show.

And those who may have thought that the show would be centred around the Steps star couldn’t have been further from the truth as each of the cast members played their roles with complete commitment.

French-flavoured Fairy Formidable (Claire Greenway) kept up a convincing accent and had the most amazing singing voice – even doing justice to an Amy Winehouse song.

The production was totally lavish from the musical numbers to the elegant costumes, and the slick everchanging sets to the beautifully choreographed dance routines. The Beast’s outfit deserves a special mention as it looked incredibly uncomfortable to wear but Adam McNab still gave a polished performance despite sporting an enormous hairy mask.

This is the first time I’ve seen Beauty and the Beast performed as a pantomime and I was unsure whether it would work on the smaller scale. But it was a treat to see something new, and, although slightly different from the Disney film, it was still a total success, and if you’re a fan of the film you won’t be disappointed.

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