Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
|Date||28th March 2013|
|Society||Berwick-upon-Tweed Amateur Operatic Society|
|Venue||The Maltings, Berwick upon Tweed|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Ron Creasy|
Author: Gordon Richardson
This show has always been a favourite of mine and Berwick OS’s performance did nothing to dissuade me from that view. The opening chorus introduced us to many of the villages characters, and all grasped their opportunity – none more so than the three ‘Silly Girls’, played by Amy Cowan, Laura Catterall and Sara Rooney, as they swooned and fawned over ‘Gaston’ (Ross Graham) with his bullying arrogance and total disregard for anything or anyone but himself. Hapless, slightly dim, sidekick ‘LeFou’ was well played by Mathew Jenkins, and was a good ‘fall guy’ for his mentor. ‘Maurice’ was well acted by Derek Butler, and typified the bumbling inventor and protective father of ‘Belle’. Although a ‘one scener’, Stuart Faed made the most of his role as ‘Monsieur D’Arque’, the asylum owner, in a controlled manner without being pantomimic as so often happens in the role.
In the Beast’s castle we met Gary Robson and Bill Shardlow playing ‘Lumiere’ and ‘Cogsworth’ respectively. These two had great chemistry together as the over confident Lumiere desperate to be ‘Human Again’, and the pompous, pedantic ‘Cogsworth’. Lumiere’s girlfriend ‘Babette’ (Tamsin Davidson) flirted outrageously with everyone, whilst the past opera singer ‘Mme de la Grande Bouche’ was played in a kindly fashion by Sandra Storey. Zoe Graham, as ‘Mrs Potts’, was superbly ‘maternal’ to all, especially the incarcerated Belle, and the title song scene sung by her was, as always, a show stopper. Adding the ‘cute factor’ was Rachael Spain as ‘Chip’ with her confident libretto and singing.
Looking every inch a ‘Belle’ was Anna Emmins as she sang and acted through the score with ease, and was the perfect partner to Norman Millar, as ‘Beast’, with his rich vocals and fine acting. Both made the transition from jailed/jailor to lovers over the course of the production in a polished manner.
Chorus made the most of their opportunity on stage especially in numbers such as “Be Our Guest” and “Kill the Beast”. Lighting was atmospheric, Sound excellent, Costumes and Choreography were good, and Staging well performed on a fixed set stage. A twelve strong orchestra under the direction of Ron in his first time as MD complemented rather than overcome the performers. A big well done to Berwick OS.