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Review

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast 2017

Have you ever seen knives and forks dance? Or plates? Or even a wardrobe?

The Milton Rooms stage was filled with singing and dancing cutlery, crockery, and not to mention a clock, a candlestick, a feather duster, a teapot and yes, a wardrobe when Ryedale Youth Theatre brought “Beauty And The Beast to life.

After an introduction capably given by Matilda Gledhill and Evie Jones, we were transported to “a country far across the sea” to meet the beautiful Belle (Ellen Longworth), her father Maurice (Alfie Thompson), local “hot-shot” Gaston (Ben Greenhough), with his sidekick Lefou, The Beast (a very frightening Henry Petch) and a fine company of villagers to re-tell the story.

Gaston was a complete comic joy, wringing a laugh from the script at every opportunity, mostly at his own expense but sometimes that of his hapless friend Lefou (a role skillfully played by Abi Rennison and Jessica Scholefield at alternative performances). Full of his own self importance but believing that he is going to marry Belle he nonetheless flirts with the Silly Girls (Charlotte Kirk, Amy Richardson and Romy Freer).

Belle, far more intelligent than Gaston and spurning all his advances and proposals of marriage, sets off to find her inventor father who is missing. However, when her father returns to the village with tales of Belle being imprisoned in a castle by a Beast Gaston leads the villagers in their disbelief.  The scene in which the villagers dance and sing with their tankards was brilliantly choreographed with split-second timing.

The castle’s staff, like the Prince, had been cursed and were gradually changing into furniture, crockery, cutlery and other enchanted items. The stage was full of colourful and imaginative costumes (massive credit to Wardrobe Mistress Yvonne Young and her team), and the roof was almost lifted off when the whole Company took to the stage to invite the audience to “Be Our Guest”.

The Beast won our hearts with his sadness at his appearance and resignation to his fate that no-one could love him while he was so ugly, while humour was evident in nearly every scene, with a sexy feather duster (Charlie Armstrong) being chased by an amorous candlestick – Lumiere (Hermione Collier-Hield with a fabulous French accent).  The Castle’s staff was run (like clockwork, naturally) by a clock (Cogsworth played superbly by Anja Longworth) and kindly Mrs Potts, the cook, with Mia West superb as a motherly teapot with her son Chip (another shared role, this time Eve Hargreaves and Evie Knowles).  The singing Wardrobe, played by Eleanor Anson in an amazing inventive costume and with a fine operatic voice, was delightful.

Director/Choreographer Angela Kirkham, her assistant Chloe Shipley, the Musical and Choral Director Madeleine Hudson must be praised for helping the cast achieve the highest standards in every performance.  Once again there was a live band, under the leadership of Madeleine Hudson.  Every dance number was executed with precision and grace and every solo, duet and ensemble piece were note perfect and wonderfully harmonious.

 

You might also like to take a look at our photo gallery of our 2016 production ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ along with all our past productions here.