As shocking as it is, I’ve never been to a panto before, so when I turned up at the Theatre Royal Windsor on Friday afternoon to watch Beauty and the Beast, I figured this would be something I would have to grin and bear.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, it was aimed at the children in the audience, but I found myself having a great time too.

As a child of the 90s, I grew up watching classic Disney films like Beauty and the Beast, and while there were a few elements missing (no talking furniture and cutlery), I really enjoyed this unique panto version. The glittering costumes were fantastic and the impressive set was very convincing.

The star cast of the spectacular show includes Rhydian, of X Factor fame, as the Prince/Beast, Three Degrees soul icon Sheila Ferguson as Maleficent and Georgina Leonidas as Belle.

The traditional story, set in 19th Century French village, Villaneuve, has a few modern twists that children will be delighted with – including an appearance by much-loved character Postman Pat and Basil Brush as the Beast’s man (fox) servant.

Rhydian played the Beast perfectly. His incredibly powerful voice gave me goosebumps during his musical numbers and it’s not hard to see why he has sold more than a million albums worldwide.

My particular favourite character was Dame Dolly Do-It, played by Steven Blakeley. Currently in his sixth consecutive panto season at the Theatre Royal Windsor, he is a natural on-stage.

Not to mention Willy Do-It, played by Kevin Cruise, who did a magnificent job of interacting with the audience.

The addition of Fairy Beneficent (played by Sally Geeson) and mean witch, Maleficient added an interesting element to the story and hearing Sheila Ferguson sing a Three Degrees classic, ‘When Will I See You Again?’ on stage was fantastic.

There are loads of interactive elements to keep the kids happy throughout the show too, including giant footballs flying round the room, getting squirted with water, and toilet rolls and a bra thrown around during the Twelve Days of Christmas song.

There were also plenty of pop songs for the children to sing along to, including One Direction and unsurprisingly, a rendition of Frozen favourite, ‘Let It Go’ also went down a treat.

Even the adults were taken care of, with lots of jokes to keep them laughing throughout, including a naughty one that went over the children's heads (luckily). 

There were a few mishaps – Georgina Leonidas (Belle) caught her dress on the stairs and ripped it and Sheila Ferguson forgot her lines at one point, but the children didn’t notice and the cast dealt with it very professionally and made the adults laugh.

The all-singing, all-dancing show is highly recommended for a great family trip out this festive season.

There is so much to see on stage, whether it is the songs, impressive dance routines or the special effects, it will definitely keep the kids entertained throughout.

An extra week has been added due to phenomenal demand, and is now running until 11 January. Tickets are priced between £14.50 and £34.50, available from the box office on 01753 853888 or via