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Beauty and the Beast

Date

11th October 2018

Society

Dinnington Operatic Society

Venue

The Lyric Theatre, Dinnington

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Ashley Booker

Musical Director

Jonathan Wilby

Choreographer

Jacqui Turner

Report

Author: Les Smith

Some people say you only have to put the word “Disney” in front of a show title and it’s sure to be a hit with good tickets sales. Well, maybe this is true but you also have to be able to follow the title with a good show and that is just what Dinnington AOS did this week with Disney’s Beauty & The Beast, from the word go it was excellent.

In the lead roles of Beauty or Belle as she is known was Daisy Mikulik and to say this was made for her is an understatement, Daisy was able to shine in the singing, dancing and acting to bring this character to life. Daisy’s singing of Home was breathtaking and you could have heard a pin drop whilst she was performing this.

The other title role in this piece is of course The Beast and again casting was excellent with Kristian Denman here, he was able to breathe life into this role and unlike in some productions of this I have seen where the voice is slightly muffled due to the mask, you could hear every word of the dialogue and songs. Praise must also be given to Courtney Smith who with the help of her talented make up brush was able to transform Kristian into The Beast. As we all know, the Beast has an alter ego, The Prince, again here Dinnington struck home in casting Scott Walker in this part, Scott looked every bit the dashing Prince and proved a good pairing with Daisy

There is a good deal of comedy in this show especially in the character of Gaston who because of his looks thinks every woman and girl should be falling at his feet, Mark Maltby was perfect in this role and was able to show off his bulging biceps and good looks to win the audience over, even if he wasn’t able to win Belle. Both I and the audience loved his singing of Gaston. Gaston also has a side kick in the guise of LeFou who no matter how much he tries to please his master never quite gets there or the praise he deserves. Sam Bates in this role was superb, he bounced around the stage as though he was made of rubber, I’m not sure how many bruises he will have got by the end of the week but I doubt there will be much of his body without one.

Vying for Gaston’s love are of course The Silly Girls who as the title suggest are three very silly girls who swoon each time he appears near them. Natasha Simpson, Kirstie Turnbull and Gail Cobb managed to deliver the goods here and be extremely silly.

Belle lives with father who she loves very much, Maurice played here by John Green who was able to develop his character as the show went on to produce a very loveable father.

As everyone knows once the Beast’s castle becomes enchanted the staff all take on different bodies to become the various item of furniture etc instead of their own bodies. To be able to create a character and keep it all the way through a show whilst at the same time wearing some extremely heavy, difficult costumes is no mean feat but the six main actors here triumphed to deliver the goods. In the part of Lumiere was Steve Ball as a candelabra, it must have been very tiring to keep acting whilst holding your arms out to depict the candle holders but he continued to keep them held up all the way till the end whilst at the same playing a great role. Another character who has to keep her arm held up all the way through is Mrs Potts who is made to resemble a tea pot. Claire Stanley was brilliant in her portrayal of this character and I suspect everyone loved her singing of the title song Beauty and The Beast which was superb. Joining Mrs Potts on stage each time she came on is of course Chip who is the small boy depicted as a cup, on the evening we were there this part was played by Faith Bernie who performed brilliantly whilst being encased in a trolley. On the other performances this was played by Lucas Wilson who I have on good authority was equally superb.

Another character is that of Madame De La Grande Bouche, who is depicted as a wardrobe, not only did Samantha Smedley have to play this part who was formerly an opera singer, she also had to wear a very large furniture costume but being the true professional Samantha was able to pull it off with ease.

Babette, the French maid who was depicted as a feather duster was another who was able to carry her character off with ease whilst at the same time holding a French accent all the way through the show, Fiona Mikulik was superb in this role.

The last of the staff, Cogsworth, the clock was played with ease by Ashley Booker who had to step in with only four week’s notice, even though Ashley had a very short rehearsal period he still managed to get everything out of this part, not easy when you are also the director!

The only down side of the production was some of the lighting where the actors on stage were sometimes very dimly lit, I appreciate that some scenes were in the dark and shady castle but I did feel at times it was difficult to see some of the action .

All the principals were supported by a great chorus to add to the enjoyment of the audience. I must also mention the costumes and set which had all been done “in house” and all worked extremely well, this really is community theatre at its best and coupled with a good live band resulted in a great evening’s entertainment.

Many congratulations to everyone involved in this show for not only producing it but also for actually tackling such a mammoth show in the first place.

Some people say you only have to put the word “Disney” in front of a show title and it’s sure to be a hit with good tickets sales. Well, maybe this is true but you also have to be able to follow the title with a good show and that is just what Dinnington AOS did this week with Disney’s Beauty & The Beast, from the word go it was excellent.

In the lead roles of Beauty or Belle as she is known was Daisy Mikulik and to say this was made for her is an understatement, Daisy was able to shine in the singing, dancing and acting to bring this character to life. Daisy’s singing of Home was breathtaking and you could have heard a pin drop whilst she was performing this.

The other title role in this piece is of course The Beast and again casting was excellent with Kristian Denman here, he was able to breathe life into this role and unlike in some productions of this I have seen where the voice is slightly muffled due to the mask, you could hear every word of the dialogue and songs. Praise must also be given to Courtney Smith who with the help of her talented make up brush was able to transform Kristian into The Beast. As we all know, the Beast has an alter ego, The Prince, again here Dinnington struck home in casting Scott Walker in this part, Scott looked every bit the dashing Prince and proved a good pairing with Daisy

There is a good deal of comedy in this show especially in the character of Gaston who because of his looks thinks every woman and girl should be falling at his feet, Mark Maltby was perfect in this role and was able to show off his bulging biceps and good looks to win the audience over, even if he wasn’t able to win Belle. Both I and the audience loved his singing of Gaston. Gaston also has a side kick in the guise of LeFou who no matter how much he tries to please his master never quite gets there or the praise he deserves. Sam Bates in this role was superb, he bounced around the stage as though he was made of rubber, I’m not sure how many bruises he will have got by the end of the week but I doubt there will be much of his body without one.

Vying for Gaston’s love are of course The Silly Girls who as the title suggest are three very silly girls who swoon each time he appears near them. Natasha Simpson, Kirstie Turnbull and Gail Cobb managed to deliver the goods here and be extremely silly.

Belle lives with father who she loves very much, Maurice played here by John Green who was able to develop his character as the show went on to produce a very loveable father.

As everyone knows once the Beast’s castle becomes enchanted the staff all take on different bodies to become the various item of furniture etc instead of their own bodies. To be able to create a character and keep it all the way through a show whilst at the same time wearing some extremely heavy, difficult costumes is no mean feat but the six main actors here triumphed to deliver the goods. In the part of Lumiere was Steve Ball as a candelabra, it must have been very tiring to keep acting whilst holding your arms out to depict the candle holders but he continued to keep them held up all the way till the end whilst at the same playing a great role. Another character who has to keep her arm held up all the way through is Mrs Potts who is made to resemble a tea pot. Claire Stanley was brilliant in her portrayal of this character and I suspect everyone loved her singing of the title song Beauty and The Beast which was superb. Joining Mrs Potts on stage each time she came on is of course Chip who is the small boy depicted as a cup, on the evening we were there this part was played by Faith Bernie who performed brilliantly whilst being encased in a trolley. On the other performances this was played by Lucas Wilson who I have on good authority was equally superb.

Another character is that of Madame De La Grande Bouche, who is depicted as a wardrobe, not only did Samantha Smedley have to play this part who was formerly an opera singer, she also had to wear a very large furniture costume but being the true professional Samantha was able to pull it off with ease.

Babette, the French maid who was depicted as a feather duster was another who was able to carry her character off with ease whilst at the same time holding a French accent all the way through the show, Fiona Mikulik was superb in this role.

The last of the staff, Cogsworth, the clock was played with ease by Ashley Booker who had to step in with only four week’s notice, even though Ashley had a very short rehearsal period he still managed to get everything out of this part, not easy when you are also the director!

The only down side of the production was some of the lighting where the actors on stage were sometimes very dimly lit, I appreciate that some scenes were in the dark and shady castle but I did feel at times it was difficult to see some of the action .

All the principals were supported by a great chorus to add to the enjoyment of the audience. I must also mention the costumes and set which had all been done “in house” and all worked extremely well, this really is community theatre at its best and coupled with a good live band resulted in a great evening’s entertainment.

Many congratulations to everyone involved in this show for not only producing it but also for actually tackling such a mammoth show in the first place.