Pontypool born actor Rob Vernon chats to Andy Howells about his Beastly role in Newport Riverfront’s pantomime Beauty and the Beast

Many actors believe they really have to embrace the parts they play to give a good performance on stage. That will certainly be the case for Pontypool born actor Robert Vernon as he treads the boards this Christmas as The Beast in the Hiss and Boo produced pantomime Beauty and The Beast.

Rob is no stranger to the theatre having performed in several classical roles since 2005 including Heathcliff in Lucy Gough’s 2011 adaptation of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights in which he gave a powerful performance that was described by your Argus reviewer as “energetic, powerful and believable”. Not unlike the brooding Heathcliff, Rob’s latest role of the Beast presents quite a challenge.

“I’m pretty grumpy in the morning so I take that thought and follow it through” laughs Rob. “Challenging for me is the choreography,” he continues, “I’m like Rocky. I’m in training on my own just to be passable. Then they’ll go “he was alright” and I’ll go “I worked at that!””

Rob followed his ambition to become an actor on good advice from his A level drama teacher, “I ended up at the royal welsh college in Cardiff, which co-incidentally half the cast seem to have gone there at different times except a very long time ago!”

So what is it like stepping into the world of pantomime? “I haven’t done a lot of panto,” admits Rob, “although it’s surprised me because it’s a lot of fun, for the grown-ups as well as the kids.”

Beauty and The Beast continues at The Riverfront until January 5. For full information on ticket prices visit https://nccsec.newport.gov.uk/tickets/ or call box office on (01633) 656757