Beauty and the Beast - Limelight Productions - One4Review
Limelight Productions were founded by Bobby Mitchell as recently as 2005. I don’t know why I assumed they had been in existence far longer, probably the high quality of the shows they have previously delivered and the professional ‘feel’ about the company are probably the reasons.
This is a tale as old as time and has been a Disney animated success and even spawned a hit single to boot and I’m sure almost all will know the story of a Prince cursed to be a ‘Beast’ until someone falls in love with him, and his staff equally affected as they are gradually morphing into in animate objects as the time passes, Lumiere into a candlestick, Cogsworth into a clock, Babette, a duster Mrs Potts a teapot and her son Chip into a teacup.
Local village girl, a beauty named Belle, is pursued by village rake Gaston who wants to marry her but still continue his dalliances with ‘The Silly Girls’, but she is more interested in reading to his displeasure. Belle’s father Maurice an inventor gets lost in the woods and is captured by The Beast until a swap is arranged for Belle to remain captive in her father’s stead. And then it starts to get really interesting.
This is a true ensemble piece with a multitude of supporting actors, dancers, villagers all brightly costumed and all it seemed with excellent singing voices. The number of people on stage could have caused Director Bobby Mitchell and choreographer Clare Stewart nightmares as how to move them around let alone do the excellent and well drilled dance numbers the show is peppered with, but no, they managed it with style and panache.
The set was magnificent as one would expect with nary a techy fault to be noticed so a huge well done to all the design and technical crew.
But as to the main players, well it must have been hard for the casting people to select. This company is seriously blessed with so many talented actors and singers; the selection process must have been pretty damn difficult to balance. Clark Stewart as the nasty Gaston was as good as he always is, Ian Hammond Brown a suitably able Beast, Tomm Campbell as Cogsworth, Fiona Mitchell, Mrs Potts, Anne Diack , Mme de la Grande Bouche, Christie Orr as Babette, George Hutchison as Maurice, Kevin Reed, Le Fou, Ryan Mitchell as Chip and ‘The Silly Girls’ all performed their parts with style. I have intentionally left two of the principals from this list, not that they were not good, they were outstanding to my eye. Graeme Melvin, back on stage for the first time in about five years, was simply excellent in the role that should have been created for him, that of Loumiere. My word, has he come on since I first cast him as a fox in a Panto about a thousand years ago. Welcome back to the stage young sir.
And the other? Who else could it be than Belle herself. Kim Shepherd was magnificent in this role. A wonderful singing voice, a great actor, in fact a true Disney Princess. She is worth the admission money alone.
The cast of thousands who made up towns folk, cutlery and dancing napkins and wolves to name but a few could probably have filled the leading roles themselves, but added their own talent to the ensemble to give the show such depth.
This production runs until Saturday 9th in Dunfermline’s Alhambra Theatre and I believe there are a few tickets still available, so go on treat yourselves, buy one today. You swill not regret it!!
Reviewed by Geoff