Cast Announced For BEAUTY AND THE BEAST At Exeter Northcott Theatre
The full cast for Exeter Northcott Theatre's pantomime Beauty and the Beast has been announced as rehearsals are set to get under way for an ambitious new production of the classic love story.
The famous tale of a handsome prince who is transformed into a hideous beast and can only be saved by "true love's kiss" is set to delight audiences this Christmas.
Artistic and Executive Director Daniel Buckroyd is set to write and direct the show, the first time it has been staged at the theatre.
Playing Prince Valentin is Samson Ajewole, who made his West End debut in the hugely popular The Comedy about a Bank Robbery.
Exeter favourite Steve Bennett returns to the Northcott stage for his 22nd professional pantomime, playing Belle's father, Monsieur Marzipan.
Steve made his Northcott debut more than 30 years ago playing Philip Welsh in Terrance Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea and is known to TV viewers as PC Bob Daniels in Broadchurch.
Anna Stolli, who appeared in the West End production of Kinky Boots and toured internationally with Mamma Mia!, plays the evil enchantress, Nightshade.
Martin Ramsdin, best known for his alter ego Bunny Galore, host of the cult film TV show Bunny Galore's Movie Nightmares, plays Dame Betty Bonbon.
Belle's sister Soufflé is played by Francesca Pim, who appeared in Alice in Wonderland and Salad Days.
Cupid is played by Dafydd Lansley, whose theatre work includes Annie Get Your Gun an international tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Sebastian Rasmussen, a dancer in Mamma Mia 2 - Here We Go Again, and Hollie Nelson, a singer and dancer in Sherlock Holmes - the Musical, appear as the male and female understudies.
The Northcott earned a reputation for home-grown Christmas pantomime until 2010, reviving the tradition again in 2017 with Dick Whittington and last year with Jack and the Beanstalk.
Daniel's previous panto productions have won plaudits, with five nominations at last year's Great British Panto Awards, including one for best script.
Daniel Buckroyd said: "I'm a huge fan of pantomime - the drama, the music, the silly jokes, the theatrical magic - and I love the way it can bring families and friends together at Christmas - so I'm thrilled to be continuing the tradition of great Northcott pantos with Beauty and the Beast".
In July, Sir Ian McKellen helped launch the Northcott's new 'pay it forward' campaign to give away 1,000 panto tickets to people who would not otherwise be able to go.
The Beauty and the Beast initiative, which asks theatre-goers to donate one ticket then match funds a second, is currently above 900 with more than a month to go to opening night.
The show opens on 30 November and runs until January 5. For more information visit www.exeternorthcott.co.uk.