A Tale As Old As Time, but somehow never gets old!
Last night I visited Bristol Hippodrome with Otis (5) to see Beauty And The Beast The Musical for their press night. I will admit this was my 4th time seeing the show, yet it still managed to blow me away, made me gasp at the magical affects and triggered emotions in me throughout. If you’ve never seen it, I recommend booking a ticket at Bristol Hippodrome before it finishes on 12th Nov. If you’ve already seen it, I recommend seeing it again!
After the prologue in which the back-story to the Beast’s curse is told, the show immediately starts full of energy as we are transported to a provincial village complete with an ensemble full of character, giving a perfect insight into the day-to-day lives of the villagers through beautifully choreographed song and dance.
I’m sure most of you will already know the storyline of Beauty And The Beast and how it is a story told through a rollercoaster of happy and light-hearted humour as well as dark and mysterious scenes. The Musical echoes the original family-favourite Disney movie, but with additional songs and even extra interactions between characters, such as between Belle and her father.
Throughout the show Lumiere (Alyn Hawke) and Cogsworth (Nigel Richards) bounced off each other’s humour in a way that had the whole audience smiling as we watched how the unlikely friends bonded so well. This humour teamed with the hopeless clumsiness of Le Fou (Louis Stockil) made for a serious story shown through a light-hearted manner, making it perfect for children too.
In such a musical, it is so difficult to pull out favourite scenes as they all play into each other perfectly, but there are definitely standout moments that had the audience gasping, emotional and erupting in applause.
The Tavern scene was perfectly executed as Gaston (Tom Senior), Le Fou (Louis Stockil) and the Ensemble brought to life the aesthetic of a small, French tavern. As they performed “Gaston”, the audience were treated to brilliant choreography featuring metal tankards being clashed in beat with the song, all over the stage. There were even a few “magic trick” style stage affects that made it look like real arrows were being fired and guns were being shot on stage.
We were then treated to the “Be Our Guest” scene which (if you’ve ever seen the film) had a lot of high expectations to meet, but managed to exceed them in every way. Tap-dancing, synchronised floor dancing, epically strong vocals, humour, transforming costumes, illusion-style staging and captivating lighting – you name it, this scene had it! And then it ended with cannons of streamers being fired into the audience which, as you can imagine, had everyone cheering in glee (Otis in particular couldn’t contain his excitements as the streamers fell all around us)!
It wasn’t just the busy scenes with a large cast on stage that impacted the audience though. The Beast’s (Shaq Taylor) performance of “If I Can’t Love Her” was so full of emotion that it truly felt like the Beast was singing from the heart there and then instead of remembering a well-rehearsed lyric sheet. Even as one person on stage, the scene was powerful and Shaq had the whole audience listening intently to every word.
This power is then echoed in Belle’s (Courtney Stapleton) lone performance of “A Change In Me”. Courtney absolutely blew the roof off the theatre and at the end (rightly so) the audience erupted in applause after being taken aback by such a strong vocal performance, delivered through deep emotion.
It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen the film and this show, the ending always gets the better of me. I’m not sure how many dry eyes there were as all the castle characters transformed back to their human selves, but mine certainly wasn’t one of them as Mrs Potts (Sam Bailey) was reunited with her son chip (Zayne Norris) who came running into her arms on stage. Beauty And The Beast The Musical has a truly magical way of taking you into the lives of its characters and experiencing this journey of love, loss, humour and desperation with them. It’s a story of falling in love that we can all relate to with a meaningful moral that we can all learn from. A 10/10 must-see show for the whole family!
Beauty And The Beast The Musical is on at Bristol Hippodrome until 12th November withh matinee performances on various week and weekend days until then. Tickets are available from £20 per person and there is a special performance for a visually impaired audience on Wednesday 19th October.
Click here to book your tickets!