When it comes to deciding whether to see a show or not, you can’t pass up the classics such as Shakespeare, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and most importantly Disney. The timeless tales of magic, love, and dreams, created by Disney, are truly magnificent and amazing in their ability to intrigue all ages. Currently showing at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis is the Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast. The story is focused on a girl named Belle who while searching for her father comes across a castle in the woods. Living in this castle is a former prince, now turned beast. After a rough start in communication between these two, a further relationship begins to bloom.
For a little background my relationship with this particular show: I have seen it 4 times. The first time I saw it, the show was performed by a middle school. After that I saw it two times performed by high schools and one time by a professional company. I love this show! So I was disappointed and angered when this performance of the show ruined the appearance of a quality and professional theater experience and production. I knew from the start that this show was going to go downhill quickly when in the opening scene the woman went from an old hag to one of those blow-up dancing stick figures that tower over used-car sales lots in a matter of five seconds, when she was really supposed to be turning into a beautiful woman. Overall, the talent and skill of the cast as a whole, was sub-par. No one on that stage knew how to project so that they could be heard clearly. Throughout the entire show, all of the characters were extremely quiet and lacked genuine development of their character’s written personality. I feel that the character of the Beast was played better in the middle school production I saw than in this production. For some reason, the director believed that giving the Beast an attitude and making him whine like a puppy dog when he was hurt was a good idea. Based off of this one decision, the Beast (Ryan Everett Wood) was completely transformed from his usual scary and beast-like personality into a weak and wimpy teenager personality. The only time I felt the character of the Beast actually deserved a round of applause was after his solo of “If I Can’t Love Her”. He finally found a voice loud enough for the back row to hear and gave strong and passionate emotion.
As far as technical elements such as lighting and the set, I think I’ve spent more money on a trip to the grocery store than the company did on both of those elements. The houses in the village were probably cardboard, based off their thickness and look. There were good uses of lighting to add effects, but their tardiness on cues was distracting.
Overall, I have never been more disappointed with a performance than I am with Beauty and the Beas. The talent of the cast, the quality of the technical elements and the ability to put on a quality and professional production were all greatly lacking in this performance.