Beauty and the Beast musical is based on the classic Disney film. The story follows Belle, played by Grace Swaby Moore. When her father does not return home from a trip, Belle sets off to find him, only to discover he has been imprisoned by a beast played by Shaq Taylor in a magical castle. Belle strikes a deal with the beast to set her father free if she stays imprisoned. Belle soon discovers that there is more to the beast than a monster.
Beauty and the Beast was a very magical show. The show had lots of amazing and clever effects and tricks, from quick changes and a real fire to characters appearing suddenly and much more. The stage was filled with bright lights on the sides. The costumes were all perfect. It was also astonishing to see Belle’s yellow dress, it glistened and sparkled brightly. The musical had some fantastic dance scenes, with very energetic dances that included numerous high kicks and flips. Another good scene I thought, was a tap dancing solo with luminaire and belle. The story gave much more depth to the characters, and you got to learn lots more about them. Not only this, but the musical had many more songs, not in the film. There were a few jump scares throughout, and younger kids may get a bit scared at times. The cast was all incredible. During the week I went, most of the cast were understudies. Cogsworth and Lumiere were both very funny characters. Gaston and Lefou were also funny and energetic characters. Another fun character we meet is Mrs. Potts, who is good at being the mum to all the characters in a way. I did think the cast of Lumiere, Mrs posts, and Gaston singing voices sounded similar to the film version.
Shaq Taylor was very good at portraying his character as the Beast. His voice had numerous ranges, from soft to deep and high at times. I did think he was excellent at showing how his character was trying to be polite. He would sometimes shout in anger and then suddenly change to I’m sorry. This, I thought, showed how talented Shaq was. His movements were very beast-like at times, jumping on chairs and how he walked. I did think he was also good at being a bit scary as the beast. Grace Swaby Moore was wonderful at portraying Belle. She had a high but soft, beautiful voice. I also liked how she portrayed Belle as smiling, joyful, and kind throughout the show. Another thing I thought she did well was showing Belles a more badass and stricter side. A few times throughout the show, she portrayed belle as she knew how to get people to do what she wanted. We also got to see at times a bit more of a fierce side to her character. She was perfect at adapting quickly to this side of belle and changing her acting skills. Grace managed to show many different emotions, not just in her facial expressions but also in her voice.
Although this show was good, I did have a few problems with it. The second half felt very rushed, and I did think they should have made the show 10 minutes longer. I feel like the pacing for the second act needed to slow down a bit for the romance side and also the action side. I did find out that this production cut out a song and more that was in the show last year. Furthermore, I would have liked them to maybe have added a bit more dialogue throughout. I also would have liked to have seen a small battle between the villagers and the castle residents. Most of the set was minimal, with a projector showing many settings. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of a practical set. Where I was sitting, the lighting wasn’t the best and spotlight, so I experienced lots of blackout and washout, meaning I couldn’t see the actor’s faces properly as it was too white. This led to me watching lots of the show through binoculars, and in doing so, I missed out on some of the action and what was happening on stage.
Overall, the cast, songs, comedy, and effects are worth your time seeing. It’s at the Bristol hippodrome until the 12 of November! The show will move onto Dublin as what looks like the final venue of the tour. Get tickets while you still can! I hope Disney releases a filmed version of this show in the future.
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