Beauty and the Beast: A fun-filled night of festive nonsense

Has Beauty and the Beast not brought its fun and festive magic to Croydon? Oh yes it has! This classic Christmas panto at Fairfield Halls cut through the current Covid gloom with fun, frolics and fantasy.

The first rule of Christmas panto is ‘don’t take it too seriously’, writes Bill Lacy.

The plot wasn’t quite straight forward. There were strange asides that didn’t seem to make much sense, and at times the story itself felt like the sideshow. But none of that mattered.

The cast of Beauty & The Beast

This was pure entertainment, confident in its nonsense.

The celebrity draw of the show was Dick & Dom, who wouldn’t have registered a flicker of recognition with the children in the room, but a jolt of excitement for the mums and dads, who enjoyed a 1990s childhood (God, I feel old), and, for the older ones, children’s TV and panto veteran Derek Griffiths.

The cast of Beauty & The Beast

Dick & Dom appeared to be playing themselves rather than any character in the story, and popped up in strange places doing strange things, ending the show with a bizarre, slightly-too-long segment after the story had concluded, urging the audience to sing My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, with the word ‘bonnie’ replaced with ‘bogey’.

As I say, bizarre, but it went down well.

The beast was the least scary monster imaginable, his presence foretold with over dramatic sound effects, Belle the classic damsel in distress, with the array of other characters either confusing or absent.

Dick & Dom, Beauty & The Beast

For example, I loved the magical teapots and clocks in the film, but I couldn’t see them here, or they may well have been but it got lost amid the chaos, the story veering off into irrelevant tangents, usually involving Dick & Dom.

At one point there was a spot-Dom’s-head performance involving three boxes (although it may have been Dick’s).

The duo were panto naturals, laughing at themselves and throwing in the compulsory double-entrendre.

The cast of Beauty & The Beast

The songs were merry, although the choice sometimes random, borrowing from other classic musicals.

The audience, fewer in numbers than it would have been a week before, nevertheless got into the spirit.

A fun-filled night of festive nonsense, we walked away with the songs humming in our heads and a delighted three-year old who wanted to watch the film rather than go to bed when she got home.

Wonderful stuff.


Beauty and the Beast is on
until January 2, 2022.
For tickets, go to



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