Thursday, January 8, 2015

Beauty and the Beast play at the Warner Theatre

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A sorority sister of mine and I went to see Beauty and the Beast at the Warner Theatre (after a yummy dinner at Chef Geoff's). Of course we all love the Disney classic, but I wanted to see the play version.

The play had a weird start. You see the young haughty prince, and when the old beggar woman approaches, you can tell something's up. Her hands and arms looked weird, but I couldn't tell why. Then she shows her true form as an enchantress, and she's about 15 feet tall; she's a ginormous puppet. Why they couldn't just make her a beautiful woman with a wand beats me.

Why couldn't she look like this? Images found here: &
But moving on. I really enjoyed the scene where Belle is walking around town with all the other townspeople milling about. The set was very creative, with several little buildings that could be moved all around the stage and turned backward to see the inside of whatever shop it may be (ex. the book store). That was so dynamic: even the set moved! So that was great. And the actress who played Belle, Jillian Butterfield, has an AMAZING voice; she sounds like the real thing (and by real thing I mean the cartoon Belle, who was voiced by Paige O'Hara).

We got to see the townspeople again while Gaston (played by Cameron Bond) sang about how great he is. While he was a pretty good actor, his sidekick Lefou (which means "crazy" in French) was super-annoying. His comedic relief was all physical comedy, and while that is a big hit with children (there were lots of kids in the audience), I found it obnoxious. Another thing that bothered me during the bar scene was that the actors clanked their beer mugs together to go along to the music. Though I assume they were going for the "cups effect" (if you will), the noise was so jarring, and they did it for way too long! But I did enjoy the three silly girls who fawned over Gaston.

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Amazing costumes, too! Image found here:
But enough about the little provincial town! Now onto the castle. Of course we have all the beloved servants: Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts and Chip. The live dresser in Belle's room (played by Kelly Teal Goyette) and the feather duster (i.e. "Babette" played by Melissa Jones) get bigger parts in the play than they do in the cartoon movie.

I'm not sure his is the actual cast I saw, but it gives you an idea of how they looked. Image found here:
Very clever how they created Chip! Image found here:

Too bad the actor who was Lumiere (Patrick Pevehouse) did not have an accent as good as the original!
And Mrs. Potts is just not the same without Angela Lansbury. Image found here:
The "Be Our Guest" song with the dancing dishes was quite fun, but I was turned off by the women's costumes. Although the men had complete outfits, the women were wearing leotards, so their legs were completely bare; their crotch regions were emphasized with a heart-like design right over their pubic mounds! I thought that was a bit much, especially for a family-friendly show.

"Be Our Guest" number. Image found here:
But I haven't even gotten to the beast yet (played by Ryan Everett Wood)! I thought he did a good job, but he didn't blow me away like Belle did. I think the main thing I didn't like was that he squealed like a little girl when he got frustrated or annoyed by Belle; this may not be the actor's fault if he were directed to act that way, but a beast should NEVER sound like a little girl.

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There were some songs in there that aren't in the cartoon movie, which surprised me, since this is definitely advertised as the Disney version. "If I Can't Love Her" was meh, but I really liked "Human Again," and wondered why that didn't make the cut in the original. And one thing I never noticed before: Belle's song in the beginning and "Something There" later on have similar (if not the same) tunes! Sing these bits to yourself:

Oh isn't this amazing?
It's my favorite part, you'll see
Here's where she meet Prince Charming
But she won't discover that it's him 'til chapter 3

New, and a bit alarming
Who'd have ever thought that this could be?
True, that he's no prince charming
But there's something in him that I simply didn't see

There are so many great songs from Beauty and the Beast! I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the play, and it didn't hurt that the second act was so short (I always get sleepy near the end, since I'm not a night owl!). Plus, the Warner Theatre is such a beautiful venue! Four out of five stars!

My heart: it hurts. Image found here

P.S. - 30 Things You Didn't Know about Beauty and the Beast (via BuzzFeed)

P.P.S. - The cartoon movie is NOT streaming on Netflix. Hmpf!

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