The smash hit musical; Beauty and the Beast currently showing at the Artscape is a truly spectacular, fabulous and over the top bordering on cheesy (actually not really bordering, it is for the most part pretty cheesy) production. But that is what one would expect from a Disney musical, the show is very much based on the movie and the cast are somewhat cartoonish in their appearance and style of acting though I mean that in the best way possible. It has all the elements of an entertaining production; drama, romance, flashy song and dance numbers, amazing detailed costumes and of course many amusing moments to keep the audience laughing.
The actors are top class and well cast, Talia Kodesh is pretty and strong willed as the beautiful Belle. Anton Luitingh captures the Beast's temper and insecurity equally well. Though for me the two characters that stood out the most are the macho; beer guzzling shotgun firing Gaston played by Jonathan Roxmouth and the charming and flirtatious Lumière played by Pieter Tredoux. Roxmouth seems to be channelling Johnny Bravo and is hilarious as the conceited suitor of Belles. Followed by a trio of swooning and giggling blonde girls Gaston attempts to win Belles heart by flexing his muscles and waggling his eyebrows suggestively. While Tredoux is utterly delightful as the dashing candelabra and flirts with the audience as well as the cast throughout his performance, and is especially flirtatious with the sultry feather duster Babette played by Angela Kilian who swishes about the stage most alluringly.
Beauty and the Beast literally dazzles the audience with its multi layered and tightly choreographed song and dance numbers. Noteworthy numbers include the cutlery inspired Be Our Guest song which has Belle introduced to a wealth of enchanted half human half object characters that frolic and can-can delightfully across the stage against a backdrop of flashing lights and popping champagne bottles. Equally as entertaining and superbly choreographed is the manly beer drinking song lead by Gaston in the village bar, it will have you tapping your foot and wishing you had a tin beer mug in hand to cheers along to.
This is definitely one production you don't want to miss, from the romance and comedy to the fabulous and seamless stage settings and over the top costumes there is something for everyone. The magical Beauty and the Beast runs until 8 March 2009 at Artscape. Tickets cost from R150 to R400 via Computicket, 083 915 8000 or 021 421 7695.
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