Take a good fairy tale, some amazing singing and dancing, dazzling costumes and a good helping of laughter, and what do you get?
A brilliant evening’s entertainment, courtesy of Earlston High School’s production of Beauty and the Beast.
This was another spectacular success for producer and musical director Jeff Thomson, for whom the choice of talent was large enough to enable two casts for some main characters playing alternative evenings.
From the very first words spoken by Ben Williams, “once upon a time”, the audience was transported into the fairy tale, with the enthusiasm, fantastic singing and professionalism of everyone on stage enchanting us all.
The leading lady, Belle (Catriona Lamb, Neve Clark) was played to perfection. Her sweetness and self-assurance captivated the audience. She loved her father Maurice (Sam Johnston), a rather nutty professor inventor, and he complemented Belle’s voice on their duet No Matter What.
Pin-up boy Gaston (Evan Anderson) was smarmy and conceited and failed to understand how Belle could possibly reject him, but he received plenty of attention from the Silly Girls (Catriona Moore, Iona Young and Liljana Stamenkovic) at least.
Gaston strutted about the stage full of confidence, thanks to the wardrobe team for getting his macho appearance “just right”.
His sidekick Lefou (Scott Braithwaite) spent most of the time on the floo,r having been knocked over by Gaston at every opportunity, but the duo were hilarious together.
The Beast (James Bennett), true to character, huffed, puffed and bullied his way through the first act before winning the audience over with his dramatic and emotional rendition of If I Can’t Love Her. There couldn’t have been a dry eye in the house.
The Beast’s household were also transformed into objects – Cogsworth (Mitchell Green) became a clock, Lumiere (Simon Thomson) a candelabra, Babette (Rosie Fletcher, Rose Davenport) a feather duster, Madame De La Grande Bouche (Richeldis Brosnan, Aimee Goodship) a wardrobe, Mrs Potts (Robyn Smith, Alice Fyfe) a teapot and her son Chip (Oliver Grant, Luke Thomson)a little teacup.
Their interpretation of their objects was brilliant and they brought the house down with their comedy routines. Two of the highlights of the show, Be Our Guest and Human Again, were delivered with massive conviction and loads of humour.
Add some dancing plates, dancing knives and forks and other enchanted objects and the whole scenario was absolutely brilliant.
Another enchanted moment was when Mrs Potts sang Beauty and the Beast whilst Belle and the Beast dined, danced and began to fall in love.
The main baddy Adam Wilson, as the sinister le Darque, was effectively creepy.
Together with evil dancing wolves, angry village mobs and a well choreographed battle, the chorus played their part.
The production was perfected with amazing lighting effects, brilliant dancing and choreography to some tricky music. There were dazzling colourful costumes, very slick scene changes, authentic scenery, great sound, effective make up and wardrobe and a fantastic orchestra.
Even the petals slowly fell off the enchanted rose.