The New Vic beauty and the beast review

A wonderful tale of mischief and enchantment.

The New Victoria Theatre’s production of Beauty and the Beast is based on the original fairytale published in 1740 by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. It has been adapted and directed by Theresa Hoskins, who became the New Vic’s third Artistic Director in 2007 after Gwenda Hughes and Peter Cheeseman. The story is a little darker than the Disney version and gives the audience an insight into the circumstances surrounding his life with his mother the Warrior Queen before he became the Beast. Initially Bella and her Sisters are sent to the palace as housekeepers by their father as a penance for him taking a rose from the Beast’s garden. Bella’s sisters are lazy and reckless and run away scared leaving Bella at the palace alone. They are played with humour by Rhyanna-Alexander Davis as Nigella and Solaya Sang as Prunella. Bella is played brilliantly by Rhiannon Skerritt opposite Nicholas Richardson’s Beast, along with Wheeliam the Beast’s loyal servant from childhood who is also enchanted as a mechanical servant played by Johnathan Charles. All of the cast shines in this production and from Danielle Bird who is exceptional as Rajnhildre the Goblin Queen, she’s full of mischief, magic and humour, to the very talented ensemble who display their talent as musicians throughout the show. It is also lovely to see two new acting graduates in the show given the difficulties faced over the last couple of years. The design and costume departments have excelled in this production, the Beast is on stilts so he is imposing and towers over everyone. It was the little things that impressed me as on the back of mechanical Wheeliam’s costume where you can see his mechanism and the cogs whirring. I dont want to spoil the story but there is a great change late in the show from Beast to Prince which is seamlessly done. It is a tale as old as time, to pinch a Disney line, whereby love comes from within someone not their outside appearance, the Beast wants Bella to use her own free will in her response every night at dinner to his request to marry him, as he wants her to see the real man inside the beast. If you love a fairytale in an enchanted palace then I would highly recommend going to see Beauty and the Beast, it appeals to children and adults alike and the intimate setting of the theatre in the round draws you in making it the perfect festive outing. Beauty and the Beast runs until Saturday 29th January 2022 at the New Victoria Theatre, Basford, Newcastle under Lyme. All details of dates and tickets can be found on their website via the link below.

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