Beauty and the Beast
The Arts Club Theatre Company production of Beauty and the Beast returns to the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage for another festive season engagement. This whimsical live show features familiar old tunes from the Disney feature, and additional songs, with an outstanding ensemble cast. CJSF’s Elana Chan attended the spectacle on December 9, 2007.
The tiniest members in the audience showed up to Beauty and the Beast in holiday attires and colourful gowns, signaling that this show was to be a festive occasion even if the play being stage featured a hostile beast and the common mob of a close-minded town. The live musical is, in some ways, a quite different experience from watching the motion-picture version. There are additional songs, written by composer Alan Menken and lyrist Tim Rice, which significantly slowed down the pace of the plot but contributed to establishing a stronger set of character developments. The mutual admiration between Belle and her father is enacted with more feeling, while our sympathy is more convincingly solicited as we watch Beast internally struggle to grasp on to emotions that still make him human. These essential elements in the show made it appealing to adult audience as well as younger ones.
Another perk to experiencing this classic tale live is the uniqueness in costume and set designs. Costume designer Rebekkah Sorensen created whimsical outfits for the ensembles, transforming these from quotidian townspeople into swinging silverware. The costumes reflected the lighting in brilliant ways, while allowing the lively ensemble to still deftly pick their ways up and down the sets of an enchanted castle and a provincial tavern. Alison Green’s elaborate set resembles a gigantic “lazy susan”. Sitting on it are the castle’s interior and exterior and most of the town wherein Belle lives. It is not only functional for the actors’ movements, but also affords a visual illustration of the concurrent actions in sets sharply contrasting one another. The creative team behind this production exhibited boundless creativity in bringing the popular animated feature to life.
Arts Club Theatre Company production of Beauty and the Beast played at the Stanley from December 6, 2007 to January 6, 2008. For more information, visit www.artsclub.com.