NODA Review: Beauty And The Beast

What a lovely evening we had watching SONG’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” which brought back memories of family holidays in Disney World Florida and watching the latest version of the live action film starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens with my grandchildren.

The show has music written by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice from a book by Linda Woolverton

Directed by Hilary Thomson with Charles Moss as Musical Director and Hayleigh Griffin as Choreographer, this was a very enjoyable show produced by a company that has very talented young performers in its ranks and the cast of this show were no exception as they all performed very well working together with no weak links and appeared to be enjoying themselves immensely.

The cast included Astrid Travis who gave a lovely strong performance in the demanding central role of Belle with the dependable Lucas Frost producing a very good interpretation of the brooding Beast. Tom McMullan was suitably vain in an enjoyable performance as Gaston who together with Ben Ankers as a comedic Lefou produced some nice comedy moments in the show, also Ryan Harrison was mature and sympathetic in his role as Maurice, Belle’s father.

The talented cast playing the iconic roles of the Beast’s servants produced excellent characterisations and performances, they included Thomas Corcoran who produced a good French accent as Lumiere, Matthew Higginson as the very proper Cogsworth, Amanda Murphy as Mrs Potts who sang the song “Beauty and the Beast” beautifully, Angelina Bennett as the Diva Madam De La Grande Bouche, Natasha Major was a flirtatious Babette, and Grace Hayes was very cute as little Chip.

There were also other enjoyable performances in other roles which included Dominique Eccles as Old Beggar Women/Enchantress, Gabriel Cardeira as Monsieur D’ Arque, Charlie Edge and Georgia Harding were the Silly Girls and The Narrators were Jess Thorpe, Yasmin Wilson and Poppy Coyle. All accents were very good with excellent diction, projection and clarity of words, also the pace of the show was spot on.

The chorus of servants and villagers supported the principle cast excellently putting lots of enthusiasm into their performance and all the cast performed the suitable effective choreography nicely and sung all the well-known songs to backing tracks very well.

There was efficient use of the stage area as there was just one static set divided into separate areas for each scene, which enabled smooth transition between scenes keeping the show at a good pace and making a very good platform for the actors to work on, which along with good technical input and spot on costumes which resembled the film faithfully, added to the success of the productions.

I would like to congratulate everybody involved in bringing this production to the stage, as this was a very enjoyable production which was all put together in a very short period of time, which is a testament to good teamwork and dedication from the cast, all the backstage crew and the production team.

Patricia Connor

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