Panto season returns to South Shields with Westovians’ Beauty and the Beast

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A traditional pantomime will be packed full of laughs - and more than a little magic.

Members of the Westovian Theatre Society will be performing Beauty And The Beast, which has been penned by Philip Meeks, as this year’s annual pantomime.

The show opens at Pier Pavillion in South Shields, tonight and will run until January 21.

Directed by Gareth Hunter and Iain Cunningham, the show promises to be fun for all of the family as the traditional fairy tale is brought to life.

Gareth said: “The story has some links to the Disney version but this is very much a traditional panto, based on the original fairy tale.

“It’s promises to be a show full of laughs, music and more than a little magic.”

The pantomime tells the tale of Belle who is constantly trying to fend off the misplaced ‘affections’ of Claude (Gary Mason).

One day Belle meets the beast and, because she has cast eyes on his hideous form, a deal is made for her to live in the castle to save the lives of her friends in the town of Jolie Ville

Ashley Mithchell will be taking on the starring role of Beauty while newcomer Ty Roach, 16, is taking the role of the beast.

Familiar faces are also making a welcomed return Stephen Sullivan will once again be pulling on his wigs and layering up his lipstick to perform as Dame Fifi.

Craig Richardson will be reprising his slapstick act to bring to life Bertie.

While Westovian stalwarts David Foster and Mark Lamb will be appearing as Diablo and Baguette.

Gareth said: “Ty is a new face to the society, he’s and up-and-comer who has performed leads at the Theatre Royal.

“We also have a fantastic team of local young performers aged between eight and 18 who are supporting our excellent lineup of principals.”

The Westovians always hosts its annual pantomime in January, as there’s less competition from bigger theatres and people need cheering up post-Christmas.

Gareth said: “This is the perfect way to get rid of those January blues, come along and have a laugh.”

“Tickets are selling well so people should snap theirs up now to avoid any disappointment.”

Tickets cost £9 for adults and £7 for children aged under 12. They’re available from the theatre’s box office - cash only. Or by calling 456 0980.

There is no show on Monday, January 16.