Beauty and the Beast was firstly a classic fairy tale read by generations. It then became a superb Walt Disney movie watched by millions.
Now it has developed into a fascinating musical show that has captivated audiences to the full since its first showing.
And that’s the way it has been at Hawick Town Hall this week.
For thanks to a superlative effort by the Hawick Amateur Operatic Society, those who have walked through the Town Hall doors to take in this splendid production have been well and truly caught up in all its splendour.
With its many requirements, putting on a show of this calibre was a tough task for an amateur company.
However, it didn’t look that way.
Indeed, under the sharp and positive direction of producer Bill McGlasson, this show had professionalism written all over it.
Thanks to the work of choreographer Anne Anderson the dance routines were colourful and scintillating, especially in the wonderful ‘Something There’ and ‘Human Again’ numbers.
Musical director Derek Calder and his orchestra also played their own massive part in enhancing the show into the success it has been.
The costumes were all lavish and extravagant throughout, and this added dimension to everything. Add stylish imaginative scenery from Border Studios and you have another fitting piece to this production.
And the jigsaw is completed with the cast itself.
For in this, the Hawick Amateur Operatic Society’s 100th year, they rise to the occasion in making it a fitting and memorable anniversary.
In writing about Natalie Paterson, one does not really know where to begin. Simply, Natalie has everything.
The story of Beauty and the Beast is a magical one and Natalie brings about her own brand of magic to it, as she is just enchanting.
Playing the role of Belle, the young girl who through time falls in love with the Beast, Natalie is just superb from her singing to her acting – a refreshing young talent, sheer brilliance!
Cast as the Beast, Iain Scott is also first class.
Iain has come a long way since first appearing as a child in the HAOS production of Song of Norway in 1988.
In this difficult role, he tops anything he has done in the many productions he has been part of in the past.
Indeed, Iain reaches great heights.
Thoroughly convincing as the tormented Beast – who is full of anger and wrath after being cast under a spell until finding true love – Iain captures the stage in particular with his renderings of numbers ‘How Long Must This Go On’ and ‘If I Can’t Love Her.’
Scottish super heavyweight novice boxing champion David Paterson is a massive hit as well.
Portraying the arrogant, swaggering ladies’ man Gaston, David not only knocks out the audience with this showing, but with his powerhouse singing too.
Billy Rooney conjures up plenty of laughs from the audience as Gaston’s humorous sidekick Lefou, while Jim Arbon is spot-on as Maurice the eccentric father of Belle.
The Beast’s castle is full of some weird and wonderful characters in Lumiere (Richard Milan), Cogsworth (Craig McCredie), Babetta (Rachel Inglis), Madame De Grande Bouche (Shelagh Duncan), Mrs Potts (Pamela Scott) and Chip played by brothers Paul (9 years old) and Martin Goldie (7 years).
And each and every one of them within the castle are a sheer delight.
A great group of talent they certainly are.
Paul Lockie as Monsieur D’Arque, Fergus Hislop as the young prince, and Janie Mallin, Ashley Wilkinson, Louise Szoneberg as the Silly Girls get into the top-notch spots.
The show is blessed with a splendid chorus as well.
And Beauty and the Beast is a real gem overall.