Beauty and the Beast Delivers the Goods

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Submitted by Amanda M. DaSilva

Sitting in the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, in downtown Toronto, I was anxiously anticipating the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. I remember the Disney video so well, and couldn’t wait to see how it translated into a stage play.

I was prepared to be amazed and I was not to be disappointed. The costumes were amazing! The music was amazing! And the cast was amazing!  Emily Behny, who played the part of Belle was a real life beauty, with a voice that matched her good looks. The dashing Dane Agostinis, who brought a clumsy and humorous side to the Beast that turned out to be quite lovable, as well as Gaston played by the nicely chiseled Matt Farcher who also had a voice as impressive as his biceps. What I personally enjoyed about the cast is how the actors defined their relationship with each other to add more depth to the play. For instance in the beginning where Maurice, aptly played by William A. Martin, and Belle have a lovely father-daughter chat that showed how close they were. Lumiere, played by Michael Haller, and Babette played by Jessica Lorion  and their love affair that made the audience giggle and left them relieved once the curse was lifted.. Mrs.Potts played by Julia Louise Hosack and how she was a mother figure to everybody in the mansion by the way she interacted with each cast member. Each of the townsfolk were believable with all of their quirks, expressions and sarcasm or even the enchanting dishes/objects that made Belle their guest. They were all were  phenomenal singers and dancers, hitting every note and step.

Watching the story all over again took me back to all the times I watched the movie with my family and in the theatre I found myself clutching my mom’s hand, smiling and whispering the words of the songs that we knew so well.

The stage design was enchanting, each scene was brilliantly decorated. The nicely lit towns had a very warm and very welcoming presence. The deep, dark woods were even more bone chilling and scary than what I remembered in the movie as a kid.  The wolves look so menacing and vicious and terrified poor Maurice. The mansion, although fairly creepy, was beautifully decorated, dimly lit and was in a state of disrepair, just the way it should have been. What I personally enjoyed about the scenery was noticing how much lighter the mansion became as Belle and the Beast’s love grew.

The music was spectacular and the orchestra flawlessly performed the songs we knew so well. Songs like “Belle”, “Gaston,” “Be Our Guest”, “Something There” and of course the beautiful title song “Beauty and the Beast”, all tied the entire package together beautifully.

It was wonderful to see this beautiful story brought to life so magically and colourfully by the awesome cast, costumes and stage design.  Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, I highly recommend Beauty and the Beast as a must see stage production.