Sunday, January 10, 2016

Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST


Directed by Jordan Best


Musical Direction by Susan Davenport


Choreography by Jodi Hammond


Ickle Pickle Productions


Belconnen Theatre until 23rd January 2016


Reviewed by Bill Stephens



Pretty costumes, an opulent fairy-tale setting, imaginative staging, and some excellent singing and acting from the large, predominately young, cast, are the ingredients which ensure that Ickle Pickle’s latest offering is a delight from start to finish.

Kaitlin Nihill as Belle
Guided by Jordan Best’s experienced directorial hand,  this charming interpretation of a  ‘love will conquer all’  story about a feisty young woman, Belle (Kaitlin Nihill), who disdains the overtures of the village hoon, Gaston (Liam Jones),  to rescue her aged father, Maurice (Michael Jordan),  and in the process, melt the heart of the despised town outcast, the Beast (Adam Salter), who turns out to be the enchanted Prince Adam (Nicholas Beecher), moves along  swiftly. Tuneful songs and eye-dazzling dance routines deliciously sugar-coat subversive messages about body-image, integrity and trust hidden among the witty dialogue.



Ebullient performances from Pip Carroll, (Lumiere), Bojana Kos (Babette), Amy Jenkins (Mrs Potts) Rebecca Franks (Madame de la Grand Bouche), Zara McCann (Chip), Patrick Galen-Mules (Cogsworth) and Lachlan Burke (Lefou), as inhabitants of the enchanted castle, insure there is plenty of fun along the way.


Pip  Carroll as Lumiere

Jodi Hammond’s high-spirited dance routines add spectacle, as well as cleverly displaying the dance and acrobatic skills of her talented dancers. Miram Miley-Read’s costumes are also clever and appropriately colourful, excepting for the “Be My Guest” sequence in which most of the ensemble is surprisingly costumed in drab grey, rather than providing a riot of colour.


Steve Galinic and Anita Davenport’s impressively opulent setting provided some surprises, although Caitlin Jones’ rather dull lighting design adds little enhancement. Some adjustment to the sound levels of the under-play sections of Susan Davenport’s digital sound track, which provides the charming calliope-like musical accompaniment for the show, would also allow more of the unamplified spoken dialogue to be heard.


However, this delightful production of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” is a triumph for all concerned and the perfect escapist holiday entertainment for young and old alike. 

Zara McCann (Chip) Amy Jenkins (Mrs Potts) 

                                    Photos by Bec Doyle Photography

                    This review first published in the digital edition of CITY NEWS
                                                    on 9th January 2016.

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