Anyone who was at the premiere of Beauty and the Beast would have noticed the massive school groups. At the start, one of the friendlier kids in front of me asked “are you taking notes too? In the dark?” Yes, I was. At intermission, as the torrent of children moved to get drinks or whatever they serve, the same kid asked “Did you use your cat eyes?” The answer to that question is yes. I would say that I looked at the entire performance much like a cat would, with a distant, perhaps disinterested, eye. The plot is about a prisoner falling in love with her captor, and as an audience member, I felt a bit imprisoned by the length and production of the show. You can see Beauty and the Beast at the Orpheum, running from the 16th to the 21st of October, assuming the Stockholm syndrome onstage is your kind of thing.
Apparently, there is a movie. I probably saw it once, but I don’t remember anything about it. I didn’t have a very Disney childhood. According to my peers, and judging from the childishness of the show, it couldn’t have changed that much.
The acting and dancing was mostly unremarkable. There was one awesome dance where there was all this beer mug chinking. Which was pretty cool. Also, there was this one part in “Be our Guest” where this guy dressed in a weird carpet suit came out and did this crazy dance. Some people said it was weird, but for some reason I enjoyed it immensely.
The costumes were naturally weird, considering that half of the characters aren’t human. But none of them really captivated me. Except for the awesome pants with square legs (worn by Cogston). I would wear those, mostly because they were so garish.
The lighting was unremarkable until the climax. They simulated rain with a screen and some lights. It was a cool effect, not too complex or vague, but then for some reason, they kept it down throughout the entire fight. I would disagree with that decision. The rain might have been good for defining place and mood, but it also distanced the viewer from really caring. I would have been far more captivated (but still not that captivated) if they had stopped the rain effect and allowed us to appreciate the acting.
I don’t know if I can recommend this show. I wouldn't really recommend it to adults, A) Because I don’t really know if they would appreciate, and B) As a teenager, it would be difficult to advocate for seeing Beauty and the Beast to adults and expect to be treated as one myself. It would depend whether I would recommend it to children. It’s far more child-oriented than anything else, but it really isn't aimed at children. It makes drinking and slight sexual innuendo jokes, and requires long periods of sitting and silence, which might be tough for the smaller members of society. Then again, it can hardly be called adult. If I was a parent, I would be far more tempted to rent a VHS tape, sit the kids down, throw some popcorn in the microwave, save some money and time. So only see it if Stockholm syndrome onstage is your kind of thing. It’s definitely not mine.
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