Association of Community Theatre
Show Reviews 2017
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Friends of the Art Theatre
Directors: Geoff Lunn
Musical Director: Carolyn Hawkins
Choreographer: Ella Peatfield & Cathryn Yates
As the curtains opened the audience first met Flora, the good Fairy. Georgia Brittles delivered a strong performance with a quirky twist that really worked; I especially liked the wellies! Flora's evil counterpart was expertly played by Debbie Howe who gave a menacing performance and really had the audience gripped. This characterisation was enhanced by the fantastic lighting, designed by Dan Thompson. The duet between these two characters "Anything you can do" was one of the highlights of the evening, well done!
A key role within pantomime is that of the Dame, and this role was delivered confidently, with style and good comedy timing, by Darren Cooper as Madam Fifi. He interacted well with the audience and built the much needed rapport in each of his scenes. Darren was supported by Connor Wyse (Jacques) and Sean Stennings (Alphonse). Both delivered strong performances and worked well within the trio. I particularly enjoyed the characterisation of Jacques from Connor, who worked consistently throughout and never let his energy levels wane.
Beauty and the Beast cannot be told without Belle and the Beast. Lisa Quinn (Belle) and Andrew Jordan (Prince Danton/Beast) gelled together and certainly looked the part. Their waltz, once the Beast has convinced Belle that he was not the monster she thinks he is, was beautiful. I did feel that the songs were possibly a little too ambitious for them, but that being said they both worked hard throughout the show and gave a solid performance. John Jenkins strutted his stuff confidently as Gustave, the self-assured, exhibitionist who tries to lure Belle and convince her to marry him, to no avail.
The script, by Alan P Frayn , provided the opportunity for two sets of 'comedy' duo's - Esmerelda and Ermengarde, played by Kim Cooper and Maria Dunford (Belle's troublesome Sisters) and Monique and Marcel (Angela Holmes and Rob Brittles) the owners of the Local Beauty Salon. Kim and Maria, dressed in velour track suits, gave a loud and convincing performance, especially during their song ( I'll tell you what I want) and whilst twerking. Both of which resulted in the audience laughing out loud. Angela and Rob also tried hard in their roles and worked well as a team. Their costumes were fantastic and really added to their characterisation, especially Rob who was covered head to toe in silver and sequins.
The Chorus members were well drilled, engaged throughout each scene and clearly enjoying themselves. This is so important as their enjoyment permeates to the audience and provides the feel good factor that Pantomime is renowned for. Routines were simple but effective, which ensured all taking part could deliver. It was lovely to see three teams of dancers all being given the opportunity to take centre stage at different points during the routine. The UV Thriller number was excellent and used the circle boxes and apron well. Also, the opening numbers in both acts had the audience tapping their toes in their seats.
Carolyn Hawkins created well paced music, with numbers cut to just the right length and choosing a good variety of songs, which really enhanced the production. Carolyn was joined in the pit by Rob Hawkins on the drums who was always on the ball, adding in a different drum beat for each punch line. Well done to you both!
The set was very well thought out and certainly created the right atmosphere. The large mirror was excellent however it was difficult to see the characters at times, which was a shame. The UV scene, which saw food appearing out of nowhere, set the mood for the end of ACT 1"Be our guest." A very big well done to your creative team!
The costumes were a real highlight in this production and certainly added another dimension. It would have been nice to have had a costume change for the finale however, even if they had gone back into the Act 1 finale costumes.
We would like to thank you for your kind hospitality. We were made to feel very welcome by all, and we will look forward to seeing you again at your future productions.