Video: say hi to the cast of Beauty and the Beast – coming to the Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple from December 8-31

Barnstaple mayor Julie Hunt with the Queen's Theatre pantomime cast of Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Tony GussinBarnstaple mayor Julie Hunt with the Queen's Theatre pantomime cast of Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Tony Gussin

There was beastly fun and beautiful laughs as the stars of stage and screen gathered to launch the Queen’s Theatre pantomime on Monday.

Cast and crew are determined to make Beauty and the Beast one of Barnstaple’s best-ever pantos as Parkwood Theatres stages its first in-house production in the town since the theatre reopened.

The show opens on Friday, December 8 and will be headlined by Jamie Lambert as the Prince/Beast and one quarter of the world’s largest musical theatre boyband Collabro, which won Britain’s Got Talent in 2014.

Appearing in his 35th panto as Dame Ethel Eiffel is showbiz legend, musician and performer Bobby Crush – Billy Sparkle in hit ITV show Benidorm.

At Monday’s launch Bobby was celebrating 45 years to the day when he first entered showbiz by winning Opportunity Knocks.

Bringing a touch if wicked glamour to the show as the Witch is 90s chart topper and Eurovision favourite Nicki French, whose version of Total Eclipse of the Heart soared up the charts around the globe.

Comedian Mick Dundee plays Jean-Pierre alongside his on stage comic foil Gaston, played by Andrew Edwards.

Melissa Potts plays Belle in the Parkwood Entertainment show, which is written, produced and directed by Lee Waddingham.

Bobby Crush is presented with a cake at the Queen's Theatre panto launch to mark the anniversary of his 45 years in showbiz. Picture: Tony GussinBobby Crush is presented with a cake at the Queen's Theatre panto launch to mark the anniversary of his 45 years in showbiz. Picture: Tony Gussin

Lee said: “As this is Parkwood’s first year at the Queen’s Theatre it’s our job to absolutely smash this out of the park.

“”It’s presently a goal of mine to make this the best panto the town has ever seen. I am so thrilled, we have an outstanding cast of stalwart panto performers and new current stars – there really is going to be something for everyone in this show.”

Despite a 45 year career, Bobby Crush said it was the first time he had been to Barnstaple or played the Queen’s. He added: “Dame Ethel will be wowing them all with her keyboard skills and I will also be flying in on a trapeze.

“We will be keeping all the traditional panto elements in our show, everything you would expect to see – lots of music, glamour and glitz.”

* Beauty and the Beast runs from December 8 until December 31. For tickets call 01271 316063 or go to www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk/Queens-Theatre