IF YOU want a fun festive treat for all the family then get along to the fabulous pantomime Beauty & The Beast at Newport's Riverfront theatre.

It may be a little way to go for our Penarth Times readers but believe me it really is worth the trip.

Written by Daniel O'Brien this traditional tale was given a fun comic twist by moving the story to France, cue lots of daft jokes which the kids loved.

In this tale there is an evil wizard, Scaramouche, played by Jay Worthy who was a great villian, with the audience hissing and booing every time he stepped on stage. And him bursting into Queen songs along the way.

Beauty, played by Elin Llwyd of Pobol y Cwm fame, with her lovely Welsh lilt and a great singing voice fell in love with the Prince/Beast played by Robert Vernon who actually grew up in Pontypool.

Their love is sorely tested when Scaramouche casts a spell turning the Prince into the Beast and gives him just 24 hours to live unless Beauty declares her love for him.

Co-produced by the popular Hiss & Boo Company, there are many wonderful highlights. Special mention has to go to show stealer Lee Mengo, a veteran of the Riverfront theatre stage, playing the panto dame Dominique Derriere with outrageous outfits that you couldn't help laugh at. Her son 'Potty' Pascal Derriere played by Richard Elis who will be recognised by fans of TV soap Eastenders had immediate rapport with the audience, especially the kids.

The pair with Beauty's dad Monsier Bertrand played by Michael Onslow, have to come to terms with suddenly being poor, then trying to rescue Beauty from the clutches of the Beast while Scaramouche does his best to thwart them all the way.

Audience participation is a must for a successful panto and we all found ourselves clapping, singing and dancing along to the madcap tale which whizzed along with the clever script plus plenty of musical support from Newport children in the chorus who danced and sang their way through the show.

There was the usual slapdash moment too with a hint of Laurel and Hardy when Monsieur Bertrand and Potty Pascal try to do some decorating, a task set by the Beast.

This show is fab and really does put you in the mood for Christmas although it would also be a great day out for those 'down' days between Christmas and the New Year.

Tickets range from £5 and the show runs until January 3, 2014. Check out the website at www.newport.gov.uk/theriverfront or call 01633 656757 to book.