Beauty and the Beast played at the Orpheum theater on tuesday night, and for huge fans of Disney and small children, I’m sure the show was amazing. The rest of us were only mildly entertained. Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a young girl who falls in love with an ugly beast, and because of this true love, she turns him back into a handsome prince. Most of us have seen the famous Disney film a thousand times, and seeing seeing it on stage was really no different. Besides an additional song, and it obviously being live on stage, I felt like I was watching the movie- there was virtually no changes. The show was good, but it was exactly what I expected- a squeaky clean, generic, mildly entertaining show for children.
When I mention the show being “generic”, the first part of it that comes to mind is Belle. Belle was played by the very talented Jillian Butterfeild. Although she had a good voice, her performance was unmemorable. The way she sang sounded like a typical Disney princess’s voice- sweet and high. I felt as though she could be cast as any type of Disney princess and she would do a great job (which was proven as true when I read she had played Cinderella) but I’m not sure that she would be hired in any other role. The worst part of the show was probably Ryan Wood who played the beast. Even though he could sing fairly well, one word can be used to descibe his acting skills- unconvincing. There was no illusion. I felt no empathy for his character, in fact, I feel more empathy for the animated beast in the 1991 Disney film than the person who was on stage in front of me. The best members of the cast were the candlestick, Patrick Pevehouse, and Gaston, Tony D’Alelio. Even though both of the characters are more or less comic relief, they were the most entertaining and even made me laugh.
For a show that’s supposed to be broadway level quality, I was confused as to why the sets and costumes weren’t more lavish. I was expecting an enormous, impressive set for the beast’s castle, but it was made up of a couple sets of stairs that shook when people walked up them. A good example of the costume quality was the candlestick’s costume. Even though I wasn’t sitting very close to the stage, I could see the switches where the actor had to switch the fire on and off. The unrealisticness of the costumes and the set made illusion of the performance even less real than it was made by the actors.
Overall, if you’re looking for a fun, casual show to see with young children, this is the show for you. If you’re looking to be entertained yourself, I would stay home and watch the movie.