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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

The Corn Exchange, Newbury

Box office

01635 522733
The Corn Exchange, Newbury. Visitor information is here. Some performances may be at The Base, Communications Road, Greenham Business Park, Greenham, RG19 6HN. Unless a specific location is given for a performance, it's at the Corn Exchange.


Reviews of Beauty and the Beast

24th November to 31st December 2023

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

High jinks in the shire

Panto just gets better: Beauty and the Beast at the Corn Exchange

The Corn Exchange has a huge festive hit with this year’s lavish pantomime Beauty and the Beast, once again written by the creative team of Plested, Brown and Wilsher who also inventively direct this superb show with style.

The highly-talented energetic cast are really excellent strong storytellers who embrace this pantomime with gusto and are determined that the audience should all have a great time… and we certainly did.

Set in ‘Newburyshire’ with an abundance of hilarious local references including Highclere Castle and the Kennet Centre, we meet the enthusiastic Fairy Common (Jade Johnson) driving her tractor and an ardent supporter of all things green.

Jenny Perry has a commanding stage presence as the wicked witch from Reading West who was thoroughly booed by the audience much to her delight.

Ratty and Batty are two rats who live in Highclere Castle, gloriously played by Lois Elizabeth Glenister and Robbie Noonan, who are a perfect comic duo. The audience loved their high jinks.

Returning for her second year to Newbury, Chloe Gentles shines as Belle, giving a stellar performance and singing beautifully. She meets the Prince, who has been turned into the Beast by the wicked witch and becomes trapped in his castle.

Nathan Shaw is most impressive as this misunderstood being and has a superb singing voice. But can Belle find a way to his heart?

Every panto needs a dame and Graham Mackay-Bruce, making his first foray in this role as Pansy Pocock, quickly develops a rapport with the audience. His outlandish costumes grow more and more bizarre at every change.

The hard working versatile ensemble of Abby Fell, Harry Warburton (making her stage debut) and Scott Hayward give excellent support.

There is so much to enjoy in this family friendly panto with lots of surprises including flying bed bugs, groan-making jokes, an exhausting hilarious rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas and oodles of audience participation.

Holly Hughes’ slick choreography is spot on and musical director Ben Barrow assisted by Luke Hinchcliffe provides the stirring music.

With spectacular costumes, sparkling sets and dramatic special effects this is not to be missed.



There are reviews from WestEndBestFriend ("a good-looking show... plenty to appeal to the audience from the very young to their grandparents" - ★★★); Broadway World ("high-energy, gorgeous production... ten phenomenally talented performers... a proper, traditional pantomime... a huge amount of fun" - ★★★★★).

For more details

see the Corn Exchange web site at

Previous productions