21:14 | 25th May 2019

Reviews: Live Shows

Wed 28 Dec, 2016
By Robert Ingham

This is Above The Stag theatre, after all, and irreverence has always been their codeword.

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With Christmas just around the corner, it’s Panto season once again – and Above The Stag theatre is once more in full swing with its annual contribution – ‘Beauty on The Piste’, playing until 6th January.

‘Beauty on the Piste’ a welcome return from Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper, who have written a very funny and topical, script. It’s peppered with the usual panto fare, with an obligatory sing-a-long, as well as lines which will have you wondering if you should be laughing at lines which are shockingly hysterical. Fortunately, the cast carry off the show with more than a tongue in cheek and a knowing wink to the audience.

This is Above The Stag theatre, after all, and irreverence has always been their codeword.

Anyone who knows ‘Beauty and The Beast’ will see a twist in the tale – set at the ski resort of Les de Nice it tells the story of Beau (Joshua Oakes-Rogers), who gets trapped in the castle of the Beast (Jamie Coles) in order to save his mother Morag (David Moss) and, along the way, learns a few lessons in love and life, all under the watchful eye of egotistical resort owner, Sebastian (Simon Burr).

It is fair to say that the first act lacks a certain level of energy and the script isn’t as peppy, however, the second half more than makes up for it, especially with the appearance of Heidi (Ellen Butler), the Beast’s housekeeper who takes on the role of pretty much every household appliance – with genuinely hilarious results.

The entire cast are a strong team, delivering the jokes and the groans with great comic timing, and the directing (Andrew Beckett on fabulous form) as a whole is superb, with only a couple of moments feeling contrived.

Stand-out performances are from Ellen Butler (Heidi) who is perfectly cast and squeezes every last ounce of comedy from her lines. Put her abilities together with her numerous costume changes and you have a pretty perfect character who will have your sides hurting from laughing.
Mabel, played by Briony Rawie, who, from the moment she appears to start proceedings, makes you feel welcome and ready to settle in for an evening of fun and frivolity. It’s like seeing a completely new side to your posh aunt at Christmas after she’s had a few tipples.
And Joshua Oakes-Rogers (Beau) excels as the narcissistic, man-hungry twink, particularly in the second half. Here he hits the spot repeatedly, chewing up his deliciously dirty lines and gleefully gunning them out with glorious gay abandon.

So, if you’re looking for an evening of wonderfully witty one-liners and a script that sails close to the wind on more than one occasion, look no further than ‘Beauty on the Piste’. Get your tickets now as they always sell out and it will be a shame to miss this evening of marvellous mayhem.

What’s that coming over the hill, is it a monster? Yes, another monster hit for Above The Stag.


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