Shrewsbury Theatre Severn Pantomime: Utterly Unmissable

A smashing show ‘Fitt’ for the West End. Watch out Shrewsbury, Brad is back! ‘The perfect anecdote to everything going wrong in the year’ - David Jack, Theatre manager.  

Shrewsbury Theatre Severn Pantomime: Utterly Unmissable

Decked out especially for this exciting, occasion, the Theatre Severn was adorned with black and gold balloons, marking its 13th pantomime and first-ever Beauty and the Beast production. After seeing some slow and ever so slightly boring pantos as a child, I was preparing myself for a generic night of drawn out ‘it’s behind you’s. But my goodness I was in for a surprise…

The stunning, star-studded spectacle started with a bang as the first epic dance number was tight and slick and made me really sit up straight. Each vividly imagined character was played to perfection by gifted actors, many of whom have stepped right out of popular TV series and West End shows. Despite this year having only 12 cast members, the stage was always filled with their incredible confidence and stage presences. Each song and scene was completely different to the last, from the Beast’s sombre solo, to Danton’s racy routine which was met with squeals from the ladies in the crowd, and maybe even a few pairs of binoculars pulled out!

Described as ‘funny, slapstick, and energetic’ by rising star Tommy J Rollason, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ will no doubt make you giggle. In fact Rollason, playing the comic Phillipe Fillop, brought much of this energy and humour with his boundless zeal and hidden talents which make this production all the more unique. You couldn't not laugh at the well-choreographed slapstick scene – and hats off to the actors performing it without microphones! But of course, it wouldn’t be a panto without the Dame honing in on an innocent audience member and there was fresh and original opportunity for hilarious public humiliation. Gentlemen beware: you could be next...

The atmosphere was ‘wicked’ according to Jo Osmond playing the Fairy; what with the enthusiastic stewards clapping in time to the music and the heart-warming shout outs at the end, you just have to agree. Everything from the set and costumes to the music and special effects was extravagant and fabulously imaginative, by the end of it my hands were sore from clapping! Madame Bellie Fillop, played by local legend Brad Fitt, never failed to impress with a wonderfully outrageous outfit for every scene. Fitt, who also directed the show, recounted the process as ‘exciting, tiring, and rewarding’. And no wonder it was rewarding following a fabulous first night. There is no doubt it was worth it. 

Smoke machines, dramatic costume changes, unicycles and giant hot dogs (I know- what?!), this show seemingly has it all and more. Almost completely sold-out, it is considered by Theatre Manager David Jack as ‘the most successful panto Shrewsbury’s ever seen.’ He isn’t exaggerating. I mean, where else might you see a singing clock, a ball-room dancing beast, and a sparsely-dressed Hercules statue all in one scene?

So even if you think you’ve seen it all when it comes to pantomimes, get those last few tickets, sit back, and enjoy being proved fantastically wrong...

Header Image Credit: Pamela Raith

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