THE COUNTDOWN TO THE OPENING OF WALES’ BEAST OF A PANTOMIME HAS STARTED
Cardiff’s New Theatre will open Wales’ biggest pantomime in just over a week’s time. Beauty and the Beast which stars Lisa Riley, Gareth Thomas, Mike Doyle, Ben Richards, Danny Bayne and Stephanie Webber, opens on Saturday 8 December.
Beauty and the Beast is a gorgeous traditional pantomime, packed full of laugh-out-loud comedy, audience participation, music, dance and special effects that will enthral people of all ages. One of best loved of fairy tales, it follows the story of Belle. Can she save the selfish Beast before the final petal of the enchanted rose falls or will his selfishness cost him the love of the girl he loves and the fate of all who live in his enchanted castle?
With seats available from just £18, Beauty and the Beast is a great value Christmas experience for everyone. Grant McFarlane, General Manager of the New Theatre said “I’m delighted that we’ve secured what looks likely to be the UK’s biggest line-up for Beauty and the Beast. And I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to keep ticket prices as accessible as possible. Pantomime is often people’s first experience of live theatre and we can wait to welcome the many thousands of people through our doors over the next five weeks.”
The cast of Beauty and the Beast includes…
Actress, presenter, panellist and author Lisa Riley is best known for her role as Mandy Dingle in ITV1’s soap Emmerdale, a part she played for six years. Since leaving the programme Lisa has risen to fame by appearing on Strictly Come Dancing, and had roles in Fat Friends, Waterloo Road and Holby City. Later this year she will appear in a new BBC drama called Age Before Beauty. Known and loved for her personality and honesty, Lisa is a popular panellist on Loose Women and has recently released her new book, The Honesty Diet.
Following his performance as the Wicked Queen’s Henchman last year, Gareth ‘Alfie’ Thomas returns to the New Theatre pantomime for a fourth season. The Bridgend-born rugby player is one of the most iconic and respected figures in the sporting world, having played professional rugby for Wales and is one of the most capped Welsh rugby union players in history. Since retiring he has gone on to forge a career in commentating for Sky Sports, has appeared on reality shows including Celebrity Big Brother and Dancing on Ice and fronted documentaries for the BBC.
Making his sixth consecutive Cardiff appearance, the city’s best-loved dame Mike Doyle will join them as Betty Blumenthal. The British Comedy Award winner, singer, comedian and cabaret star has become a popular fixture of the annual New Theatre pantomime thanks to his quick wit, outrageous costumes and audience interaction.
After rising to fame on the ITV drama Footballers’ Wives Ben Richards scored high-profile television roles in Holby City, The Bill, Doctors and Hollyoaks and appeared in the feature films Bring Me the Head of Mavis Davis opposite Jane Horrocks and the late Rik Mayal and Julie and the Cadillacs. No stranger to the stage, Ben has appeared in theatres across the UK and the West End with leading roles in Grease, Saturday Night Fever, The Full Monty, Little Shop of Horrors and Guys and Dolls, as well as the role of Tick in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre London, Bill Sykes in Oliver! at the Sheffield Crucible and UK tours of Dolly Parton’s musical 9 to 5 and Rock of Ages, which played the New Theatre in 2014. Most recently Ben starred as the titular character in The Bodyguard opposite Beverley Knight at the Dominion Theatre, London, which broke Box Office attendance records. Ben will play the Beast in this year’s pantomime, a role he previously played in Beauty and the Beast in Nottingham last year.
Joining them as the arrogant local hunter vying for Belle’s affections, will be Danny Bayne who rose to fame winning the coveted role of Danny Zuko in the musical Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre from the ITV talent search Grease is the Word. Danny then went on to forge a successful career touring the UK as Corny Collins in Hairspray, reprising his role as Danny in Grease and starring as Tony Manero, the role also made famous by John Travolta, in Saturday Night Fever.
In her first year as a panto baddie, Stephanie Webber returns for a third year to star as Deadly Nightshade. Cardiff born Stephanie graduated from the Arden School of Theatre, before going on to appear on television including BBC One talent search The Voice, where she received the fastest reaction from will.i.am upon hearing her spectacular singing voice. She has since appeared in stage productions on land and sea and starred opposite David Hasselhoff as Mimi the Mermaid in Peter Pan at the New Theatre and starred in the title role of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs last year.
With over 60,000 theatregoers attending the New Theatre pantomime each year, including last year’s record breaking Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, people are encouraged to book as early as possible to secure seats.
Beauty and the Beast will burst on to the stage on Saturday 8 December and runs until Sunday 13 January 2019. Tickets are available from the Box Office on (029) 2087 8889 and newtheatrecardiff.co.uk.
The following Access Performances are available for Beauty and the Beast:
- Audio Described 10 January 7pm, 12 January 2.30pm
- British Sign Language 6 January 1pm
- Captioned 5 January 2.30pm, 9 January 7pm
- Relaxed 8 January 6pm