Mayflower Theatre Southampton – until 2 February 2019
Reviewed by Jo Gordon
These days when people hear Beauty and the Beast they think of singing Teapots and dancing Candlesticks, this is not that…..it is much much more! I cannot claim to know a lot about Ballet, other than watching this performance doubled my attended productions and I am aware of Darcy Bussel, here my knowledge endeths.
It begins with a book loving Belle (Delia Matthews) perched aloft a library ladder enjoying getting lost in a story while around her a blood thirsty Prince (Tyrone Singleton) hunts down a scared Vixen (Beatrice Parma) in a bid to show off to his friends. A Woodsman saves the Vixen turning her into a wild girl (Yaoqian Shang) and placing a curse upon the Prince transforming him into a beast. We then follow how Belles father (Rory Mackay) retrieves his fortune ending up at the Beasts castle and on “stealing“ a rose to take home for Belle ends up having to promise her to the Beast. The Beast desperately tries to win her over and repeatedly asks for her hand in marriage to no avail, having to let her return home and facing his own potential death unless Belle admits her true feelings. Running alongside this thread is the story of her two spoilt sisters and an indecisive rich pig nosed Suitor with more riches than sense which has a lovely comedic side to it.
With a stunningly beautiful baroque set and Gothic castle lit with candlelight and mirrors the fairytale comes alive. The dancing takes your breath away, along with sublime costumes and the orchestral music (Royal Ballet Sinfonia) it all makes for a magical viewing. I came away having learnt two things which were: I really need to go and see more ballet and Love is the key to all things.