From prince to beast and back again!

Amy Burrows and Titus Rowe

Amy Burrows and Titus Rowe

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There’s something very special about the story of Beauty and the Beast, says Titus Rowe who will be Bognor Regis’ beast this Christmas.

He is looking forward to the perfect panto, with everything you could wish for including a few tugs at the heart strings.

As Titus says: “You have got all the panto elements. You have a dame, you have got a fairy, you have got a magical transformation and you have got a comic. You have got all the essentials that make up a panto.

“But the story is a very profound one, a very moral one.”

And that’s what makes it so interesting to play.

“The Prince is a very arrogant human being with little care for anybody else. I suppose it is just partly him being out of touch with every-day people and their plight and their inequalities, and he ends up just unaware and arrogant and perhaps a little bit unfeeling.”

And so he becomes the beast…

“Through a magical transformation his inner ugliness is made into an outer ugliness, and he needs a special person to come along in the shape of Beauty to make him realise how he should be.

“He starts off as a Prince, and that’s the great thing. You almost play three different characters.

“There are three different journeys you go on. You have got this arrogant prince who becomes a very angry beast who is transformed by love into being a human being again.

“It is a beautiful story, and there is such a lot to it. I think of all the pantos, it is strange to have so much depth.”

Titus counts himself as a panto regular, with around six or seven to his credit. “When I was five I got to play Father Christmas in our Christmas show at school. I learnt my lines. I got to sit in a chair, and I got to be the star. It was great. It really got me, and it has never left me.

“I suppose it is the joy of getting to explore – and this is not how I saw it as a five-year-old – the human condition. When I was five, I just really enjoyed the attention and the clapping!

“I continued to do plays at school and I tended to play the leads until we moved from Wales to England. I had a very heavy Welsh accent, and I got bullied a great deal for being Welsh.

“I spent years in elocution and trying to produce RP. It was the days before Gavin and Stacey made it cool to have a Welsh accent.”

And now it is a switch which Titus can flick at will. He can be wonderfully RP and princely one second, the next full-on Welsh.

“I got an agent at 16, and I worked for a couple of years. She was a young person’s agent.

“I did an amount of voice work, but we parted company, and I didn’t know what I wanted for a number of years. I went off to explore my private life and went travelling… and then came back into it eight years ago. I had been working in cabaret, so I had still been performing, but I just missed it.

“I wanted to find a way back in, and I did a fringe show about Kurt Weill and that got me a better agent.

“I did a one-man play that got me some acclaim, and I ended up in the touring production of Annie.”

And so the business reclaimed him…

Beauty and The Beast is at the Alexandra Theatre at the Regis Centre, Bognor, from Monday, December 12-Monday, January 2.

Tickets on www.alexandratheatre.co.uk 01243 861010.

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