Friday, 14 August 2009

Disney's Beauty & The Beast - Liverpool Empire

Disney’s Beauty & The Beast
Music: Alan Menken
Lyrics: Howard Ashman & Tim Rice
Book: Linda Woolverton
Director/Choreography: Alison Pollard
Reviewer: Stephanie Rowe

Disney’s Beauty & The Beast, re-established Disney as the true kings of animated movies, with its digitalised backgrounds, catchy tunes (which won an Oscar) and a host of extraordinary was no wonder that Disney’s theatrical arm transferred the film into a stage musical.

This enchanting story follows Belle the heroine from her small provincial town in france where she lives in her own idyllic dream world, until one fateful night she finds herself at the Beast’s castle where she encounters a feast of characters including Mrs Potts and her lovable sun Chip the Teacup, Lumiere the Candle and Cogsworth the Carriage Clock, who have all been transformed into furniture after a witches curse is placed upon the prince and his home for his ignorance to the poor and needy, only true love can break the spell and transform all the characters back to normal, but things are never as easy as that and thrown into the Mix is Gaston the Village hero who tries his utmost to woo the beautiful Belle.

This production is a rare thing on the theatre scene at the moment with no star names carrying the production, what we do get is a fun filled evening that doesn’t fail to be awe-inspiring. The Beast played by Shaun Dalton and Belle played by the beautiful Ashley Oliver had a electrifying charisma on stage when they were together, the antics of Lumiere and Cogsworth ( Phil Barley and Ashley Knight) gave a fabulous performance, while Gaston and his side kick Lefou ( Ben Harlow and Eddie Dredge) had the theatre in stitches with their frolics.

The magnificent set designed by Charles Camm brings the fairytale land vividly to life, with atmospheric lighting designed by David Howe and special effects by Glen Beckley and Gareth Owen only add to this captivating evening.
Director Alison Pollard has brought a real sense of magic and energy to this production, making sure that the show stays true to the film but also has its own special sprinkling of originality and flair, It is clear from the cast that this is a production that they all enjoy performing, for each member of the cast gave their all throughout.

This is one of the most enjoyable nights at the theatre I have had in a long while, it was great to see the little girls all dressed in their Belle costumes singing along and some even danced in the aisles, a terrific family night out which will leave the kids talking about it for days afterwards.

Beauty & The Beast runs at the Liverpool Empire until Sat 22nd August
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