I wonder if my 34 year old self found this production even more magical than my 4 year old self would have. Disney's Beauty and the Beast by the Arts Club is an extremely impressive show.
The entire ensemble is strong, especially in the multiple group dance/ fight scenes, but I do need to single out some particularly good performances. It's a long list: Susan Anderson as Mrs Potts who was somehow even MORE endearing than the animated teapot of my childhood had been and brought a tear to my eye and an earworm to my brain with her signature song, Michelle Bardach as Belle, who brought a spunk and independence to the character, Graham Coffeng as Lumiere and Shawn Macdonald as Cogsworth who had an adorable, ribbing rapport, with Shannon Hanbury's Babette completing the rambunctious trio, Kamyar Pazandeh as Gaston who in this production somehow managed to be my most favourite character, his performance stood out significantly even amongst such a talented bunch, and Jonathan Winsby whose haunting voice and interesting physical choices as The Beast went a long way to filling out one of the more blandly written characters in this story.
Lighting, live orchestrated music, set, props, costumes and background each contributed to the magic. With the exception of the town backdrop which I felt lacked the care and artistry of the other painted backgrounds. That was the only time I felt that I might be watching a show created for kids, all other production values made this charming piece magical to even my nostalgic but jaded eye. It is NOT scary, so appropriate for all ages. And for those of you who, like me, grew up with the animated movie version, you might appreciate some of the subtle changes in character choice and storytelling style that this version brings to life.
Disney's Beauty and the Beast is playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until 6 January.
Tickets at: https://artsclub.com/shows/2018-2019/beauty-and-the-beast
~ reviewed by Danielle Benzon
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ABOUT THEATRE ADDICTS
Founded by Danielle Benzon, a self-professed theatre addict.