AN amateur dramatics group staging a classic tale with a twist in the coming weeks have given a sneak preview into rehearsals.

Pantaloons, who celebrate 40 years in Braintree this year, are staging a production of Beauty and the Beast.

A spokesman for the group said they chose Beauty and the Beast for their pantomime due to its child friendly story as there are younger cast members.

This stage version, however, is a little different to the tale most of us know.

In a retelling, Rose (aka Beauty) lives with mother, brother and a talking French poodle named Felix in a poor, impoverished kingdom cursed by a witch called Malabelle.

For Rose’s mother Ma, heading off to seek the family’s fortune ultimately leads to meeting the Beast and the story unfolds from there.

The group last performed Beauty and the Beast about 11 years ago and long-time fans of Pantoloons can expect to see familiar faces take to the stage.

Alice Mason is taking on the role of Rose. She has been a member of the society for about five years but this is her first leading role.

Emma Loring, who is directing the play, said Alice auditioned against four other performers to win the starring role.

The Beast is played by Graham Aldred, who has had a variety of duties across each panto since he joined more than a decade ago.

Emma said Graham's experience over the years has ranged from being an onstage performer, working backstage and front of house.

The show runs from Sunday, February 18, to Saturday, February 24, at Black Notley Community Association Hall.

Emma said: “The cast has worked really hard over the last four months. 

“The show is funny and exciting with lots of twists and turns. 

“I’m really excited to see it on stage with all the props. We’ve got a lot of people working on different aspects - costumes, props, scenery and set. 

“The show looks really good, I can’t wait to see it in all its glory”.

For more information, visit Pantoloons on Facebook or go to for dates and times.