IT is one of the best known love stories of all times – and even given a pantomime spin Beauty and the Beast can’t fail to melt the coldest of hearts.

We all know the story; a beautiful girl from a sleepy French village becomes captured by a beast that has to win her heart to break a curse placed upon his castle.

But with an abundance of slapstick antics and musical parodies, the reworking of much loved fairytale, which is on at Darwen Library Theatre, will have you crying with laughter as much as it brings tears of joy.

The scene is set by the hilarious J’Espere the Jester played by the talented Andy Steed who kicks off the audience participation bringing about the first round of cheers and boos.

Before the show had even begun the auditorium packed with school children were rolling with laughter.

Emily Samways plays the ever so sweet Beauty, who plays off well against Hugo Joss Catton’s terrifying Beast.

Seasoned performer Scott Worsfold brings much of the slapstick humour loved by young and old alike as Dame Polly Potts – including the unforgettable ‘handy little bench’ scene.

But the show is really stolen by the evil Eleanora the Evil Enchantress, played by Samantha Spurgin whose performance was so terrifying that my three year-old was cowering in her seat.

Her note perfect rendition of Katy Perry’s Roar, which had the packed audience singing along, can’t go without mention.

The scenery was fairly simplistic as far as panto goes. But the glittering costumes and special effects, in particular the impressive talking wardrobe sprinkled a bit of magic over the show.

With touches of subtle innuendo and a number of current chart topping hits mixed into the equation, Beauty and the Beast is sure to be a winner for both big and little kids.

Beauty and the Beast, Darwen Library Theatre until December 24. For tickets call 01254 706006.