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Home » Arts and Life

Beauty and the Beast boasts on Broadway

Submitted by on July 6, 2012 – 1:01 pmNo Comment

A seriously well-portrayed Belle (Emily Behny) and a slightly comedic run at the Beast (Dane Agostinis) made for a theatrically dramatic rollercoaster at the opening performance of Beauty and the Beast.

Dancap Productions put on the show at the sold out Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto Thursday, July 5, and will be running five nights a week (Tuesday-Saturday) until July 22.

This enchanting musical is nothing new to fans of the Disney movie from 1991, but even more familiar to anyone who had the chance to see it during its widely successful 13-year, 115 city run from 1994 to 2007. Now it’s back in town, and director Rob Roth couldn’t be more thrilled.

“It has been wonderful to bring the entire original design team back together to work on this new production of Beauty and the Beast,” said Roth.  “As a director, it is rare to have the opportunity to revisit your work fifteen years later.”

The score from the original film, based on the classic 1740s fairy tale, explodes on stage with luminosity and vigour, dazzling the audience into a frenzy of tears, laughter, and clap-alongs.

Opening with the character-developing tune “Belle,” the crowd is quickly introduced and induced into the life of Belle, a young girl with an aging father, Maurice the inventor, who seeks something much more from life than the affection of local arrogant hunter Gaston (Matt Farcher,) who coincidentally is coveted by all local dames and envied by the male townspeople.Following the plot of the film, the father then travels to a fair through the woods, only to be accosted by wolves and driven to an unfamiliar castle, where within he finds the wretched Beast and bewitched servants turned household wares.

Ironically they were all taller than the Beast himself, which made for an amusing juxtaposition from the movie version. This hardly drew attention away from young Chip (Zachary Maitlin/Gabriel Reis,) who was on a cart or tea saucer during performances, giving the eerie semblance of a severed dancing and singing head.

The number that captivated the audience without equal was “Be Our Guest.” With over two dozen actors and dancers, laced in guises of utensils, dinner plates, and trumpet players shooting out streamers over the audience, it was nothing short of electric.Act two opened with the climactic wolf attack on Belle, where the Beast selflessly saves her from the marauding maulers.

As the story wound down, the audience was captivated in the romance of Belle and the Beast, dynamically portrayed on stage in the theatrical delivery of the classic ballads “If I Can’t Love Her,” “A Change in Me” and finally the title track.

All the actors got an echoing round of applause as they each took a bow at the end, but as Emily Behny took to center stage for hers, she was greeted with a standing ovation littered with whistles and screams of admiration. Certainly a well deserved reward for a heart-throbbing and captivating performance.An array of astounding backdrops and well designed props and costumes made for an enthralling show short of nothing including riveting lighting, sound, and vocal prowess all around.

The show is a must-see not only for fans of the original movie, but for anyone young and old with a taste for the arts. The two-and-a-half hour musical is more than entertaining from start to finish, and leaves the audience wanting more.

Story by Devin Size; photos by Joan Marcus

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