The cast has been announced for our upcoming pantomime, Beauty and the Beast.
We are delighted to announce the principal performers of this year’s pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, which goes ahead this festive season following the cancellation of the 2020 production.
The seven-strong cast will be led by a new Dame, Nick O’Connor (pictured), whom regular pantomime audiences will remember as the evil uncle Abanazar in the most recent production of Aladdin; the unhinged fairy Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty; and Elvis as the ‘not so cowardly’ lion in The Wizard of Oz.
The transition from baddy to Dame is a road well-trodden and the same path was taken by our previous Dame, Gary ‘Gacko’ Bridgens, who bowed out in 2019 after ten fantastic years, with the first four of these playing the bad guy followed by a six-year run as Dame.
“Being given the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of panto legends Dominic Goodwin - the Theatre’s first Dame from 2010-2012 - and Gary Bridgens is both exciting and daunting in equal measure,” said Nick.
"All dames are played differently and this presents an exciting opportunity for a complete shift in style. However, I now understand how David Moyes must have felt taking over from Alex Ferguson at Manchester United! But unlike David Moyes, I know I will have the warmth and support of the Georgian audiences to help me along the way,” he added.
The handover was announced at the very last show of Aladdin when the audience witnessed a ‘Doctor Who-style’ transition scene whereby Bridgens cleverly morphed into O’Connor in a video projection. The new Dame was due to have his first outing in December 2020 until the pandemic put a stop to most pantomimes across the land.
Another popular Richmond pantomime actor returning to the Beauty and the Beast line-up is Alex Moran who played the part of the genie (aka Freddie Mercury) in the 2019 production of Aladdin. He will be taking on the role of Lumiere, Cogsworth and Ridgeley.
Taking the role of Belle is Lucy Carne who has plenty of pantomime experience under her belt, including recent roles in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and A Christmas Carol. She will be playing opposite Ben Andrew who is taking the part of the Beast and Prince. Ben has toured in numerous musicals and plays including, The Capeman and Little Shop of Horrors. He is also the lead singer of UK rock band Never A Hero.
Completing the acting line-up is Marcus Jones as Gaston. Marcus recently trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre and has a degree in Music from Royal Holloway. He has toured with a production of Cinderella so is looking forward to getting his teeth into another fairy tale favourite.
Finally, providing the all-important musical accompaniment is Musical Director Daniel Bowater and musician Alistair James – reprising their roles from the most recent Richmond production of Aladdin.
The chorus is made up of three groups of talented young performers recruited locally that have become a mainstay of this popular family pantomime.
Beauty and the Beast runs from 3 December 2021 to 9 January 2022. Tickets cost from £12 to £22 and are available from the Box Office on 01748 825252 or via the online booking service.
PHOTO CAPTION: Nick O'Connor will take over the role of Dame in Beauty and the Beast.