Watford Palace Theatre has given the 18th century French fairy tale Beauty And The Beast a panto twist this festive period.

Since 1939, the theatre has often reproduced the classic tale, which follows the story of Beauty, the youngest daughter of a wealthy merchant, who loses his fortune. After travelling the seas trying to find some of his missing goods, her father stumbles across a palace, where he picks a rose and is confronted by an angry Beast. In return, his daughter stays with the Beast at the palace and they eventually fall in love, despite his frightening appearance.

Watford Palace Theatre has adapted the story to appeal to a young audience and it now features Charlie Cupid (Dale Mathurin), who goes on several missions to ensure the Beast (Robbie Smith) and Beauty, who is called Amorette in this version and is played by Arabella Rodrigo, both fall in love.

He also doubles up as a goat and a postman during the two hour performance and keeps the children entertained with his impressions of animals.

Terence Frisch also provide a great deal of laughs as Betty Bonbon, the pantomime dame and love interest for Amorette’s father, Monsieur Marzipan (Neil Stewart). Terry is now part of the furniture at the theatre, as Beauty And The Beast is his sixth Watford Palace panto in a row and he impressed with his array of colourful costumes and poems about sweets and chocolate.

Amorette’s materialistic younger sister, Souffle, was played by Jill McAusland, who has returned to the theatre for her third pantomime, and was also in the recent production of Arms And The Man. She was convincing as a loud, money-orientated girl who was the complete opposite to her sister, who preferred to spend her time reading rather than shopping.

The actors gave enthusiastic and performances throughout, particularly when singing various songs from well-known artists who have passed away this year, including David Bowie, Victoria Wood, Prince and Rod Templeton, the man who wrote the music and lyrics to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

So, if you are struggling to think of ways to keep your children entertained over the Christmas period, why not treat them to a tale that is filled with humour and teaches not to judge a book by its cover.

Star-rating: ****

Beauty And The Beast, Watford Palace Theatre, Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1JZ, until Saturday, December 31, 10.30am, 2pm, 7pm, details: 01923 225671, watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk